Monday, June 24, 2024

We all fail from time to time – and that’s a good thing

I saw an interview with George Clooney the other day and he pointed out that “You learn nothing from success. You learn everything from failure.”

Fear of failing is what holds people back. Yet failure is how we grow and learn.

If your fear of failure means that you never try, you will end up feeling angry and disappointed.

So embrace failure and get on with the job!

How you handle failure and what you take away from it are the important things.

And what is ‘failure’ any way?

‘Failure’ often means that something has not matched up with your expectations.

The audience wasn’t big enough, you didn’t sing the song as easily as you’d hoped, there weren’t many singers at the workshop, you didn’t manage to hit that high note.

If you change your expectations, then you can change your experience of ‘failure’.

If you hold on too tightly to what’s happened in the past or an imagined rosy future, you are bound to be disappointed.

Try to get into a “beginner’s mind” – the sense that this is the first time you’ve ever done this thing. Stay open and fascinated by what is happening. Notice everything.

If something goes ‘wrong’, then you can learn from that and improve the next time. It is all part of the process and doesn’t need to be labelled as ‘failure’.

And if the expectation is something more external – the size of the audience, the number of singers at the workshop, the size of your new rehearsal space, the weather on the day of your event – then work with what you’ve got and don’t hold on to what is not. Accept the situation and embrace it.

Use Open Space principles:

  • Whoever comes are the right people.
  • Wherever it happens is the right place.
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
  • Whenever it starts is the right time.
  • When it is over, it is over.

Make the situation work for you in unexpected ways and let go of your initial plans (see Plans are worthless, but planning is everything).

other posts

You might find these older posts of interest too:

What is your measure of success? – choir leading and self-reflection

When you start singing for the first time, be prepared to fail. A lot.

How your performance can be a disaster, but the concert a huge success

It’s good to fail as a singer (and you should do it more often)

The concert was great, so why do I feel like a failure?

Chris Rowbury


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