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Apr 26, 2019
Not Trying is Failing
By Thomas Matthew Pierson
Do you ever avoid doing something because you are afraid of making a mistake? Are you afraid that you will fail? Well let me open a can of worms for you; Not even trying is tantamount to failing. I fail all freaking day; my whole art career is a failure. But guess what, I am a winner. Because every failed painting, which is all of them, has made me a better artist. Every shitty drawing, I have done in my life; Which is almost all of them, has made me a better artist.
I do not like hearing when people ‘say’ they want to learn, they “say” they want to become better and improve on a skill. But go ahead and do the opposite and run away from the challenge. Now I would understand this fear, if you wanted to learn how to climb skyscrapers but fear that you might die from the experience. But for things like drawing and painting, there should be no fear. The fear is all contained within, inside yourself. It is a façade, created by years of people’s perception of you.
This perception is a front, it’s all fake, you should not care what people think of you. You should care of what you think of yourself. You want to become a better artist, release yourself from the shackles of the society’s perception of you. This is not to be mistaken for constructive criticism. When you are a beginning artist people see your work and may remark that you are not very good. That is a perception. A criticism is when they remark something disparaging about your work. Constructive criticism is when they make a remark but provide feedback on how to improve. That is a good thing and should not be ignored. Remember to discern people’s perceptions from constructive criticism, as well from just criticism for criticisms sake. It is easy to be a critic.
Now that I have went on a tangent about perception and criticism, back to the topic. The reason I am writing about failing is because it is the single best thing you can ever do. Failing is growth. They say that it takes three failed businesses before an entrepreneur has success with the fourth. The same goes with art, you will have thousands of failed drawings before you have a few good ones. Eventually you have less failures and more victories, but that takes time. The point being you must separate yourself from the notion of failure and accept that it will occur. The only thing you can have control over regarding failing is how you handle it, and how you grow from it.
The main point I am trying to express is to try, try often, fail, and fail often. Build up that mental skin and become impervious to failure. I struggle with it as well, even with my many failures under my belt. There are times where I do have a weakened sense of self-worth, and I feel that my work is not going anywhere. Times when I am stretched thin and my patience is wavering. I compare myself to others and see how I stack up. But I try not to stay in that mood too long. It does me no good to compare myself to others, unless it is a measure for where I can improve. Even then it should not be given too much thought. It is often during those times of self-reflection where you compare yourself to other artists that leads to a waning of your self-worth. Do not spend too long being self-conscious of your faults, either recognize them and move on, or improve them. Crying about it does you no good.
Always remember, every time you do not make an attempt towards your goal self-improvement is a letdown. Wouldn’t you rather try and fail, than to never try and not know what could have been?
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