ANDYVISION - watch me try to be creative. live.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Learning to fail or vice versa

If there's one thing that I've learned in the last two years it's the importance of taking chances. As cliched as it sounds—and in fact is—no great thing was ever accomplished without taking some risk. What makes something risky is innately tied up in its very nature. Were it to be an easy, inconsequential matter, many would attempt it and thus diminish both its distinction and its singularity. It is when we throw our proverbial hats in the ring that we set ourselves up to experience things that few actually do.

All these benefits being said, at the same time we also throw ourselves at the mercy of the universe in all its enigmatic chaos. The theory of entropy teaches us that everything in existence moves from order into disorder over time. Maybe it's this part of the thrill of cheating fate that makes a victory all the sweeter when we've risked more.

However, what do we do when we simply fail miserably? What happens when we don't come out on top, laughing at our past trepidations or riding the euphoric high of receiving our dreams back to us on a silver plate?

Perhaps this is when we should be most grateful. When we can admit that we don't have all the answers or that we did in fact fall flat on our face there's a sense of liberation. More than getting exactly what we wanted, we've grown as human beings, enriched our souls and refused to stay safe while the rest of the world slumbered complacently in their comfortable beds.

It's true that it hurts. Mistakes can take the form of anything—a horribly embarrassing situation, a bloodied face, a lost job, a broken heart. But we should cherish these moments of defeat just as much as (if not more than) our energy-drink-rush, ha-ha-I-told-you-so victories. Is it no coincidence that the most beautiful, heart-felt songs are written in the darkest days of a broken musician's life and not when they feel that they're soaring on top of the world? No other sentiment is so deeply genuine or so impossible to escape.

None of this is to say that I find merit in self-flagellation. What I instead mean to say is that we should never second-guess a chance to, well, take a chance. When we constrain ourselves by social, emotional or logical concerns we hold ourselves back from experiencing something unique that no one else will ever understand—whether we succeed or fail.

I've seen this in so many aspects of my life (and those of my friends) recently. Sometimes it feels amazing, and at other times I've never felt so dejected in all my life. And sometimes those feelings aren't so cut-and-dry. But the real beauty lies in reaching out to the uncertain. Our art, our sanity, our love, our individuality depends on it. It's better to learn from a mistake than to regret not even giving yourself the opportunity to make it.

So apply for the dream job, try out a difficult recipe tonight, give up the life that you've always known and move far away, pick up an instrument, drive across the country for a girl, sing a song that you don't know the words to.

And be happy when it all works out. But also cherish when you fall flat on your face. I've learned to.

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