Over the last 2 weeks failure seems to have been the word on the street. I have heard so many people talk about it, that it seems beyond coincidence! Radio 4 had a series recently looking at failure from different perspectives. A Head teacher of a successful girls’ school in London devoted a week to it! By that I mean, she asked the students to consider the notion of failing in a different way. That is it actually means you stuck your neck out and did something. However the real impetus to write this blog came from a course I attended at the weekend. An image has been planted in my mind that I think will stay with me for a long time.
The course was about examining your impact on others and one of the skills it looked to develop was that of improvising. So a scene was set. Two volunteers started acting out a scene (think ‘Whose Line it Is Anyway?’) and as members of the audience, at a moment of our choice, we called ‘Freeze’ and stepped into the place of one of the actors and continued the scene. It was hilarious. It started off with 2 astronauts on a beach and finished as a scene discussing the colour of the urn for a recently deceased guinea pig. Yes, it was very funny. It was also quite stomach-churningly terrifying. Not knowing what you may be faced with, having to come up with an idea on the spot, hopefully amusing, and all in front of a group of people you had known for about 2 hours. It was at this point the course leader said; “ Embrace the notion of failure and not doing it well. In fact imagine a whole auditorium filled with people applauding and cheering loudly saying: “ Yes! Well done! You failed!”
It’s a great image and most importantly it’s not about laughing at yourself, in fact the very opposite. It’s about celebrating the fact that you did something in the first place. Guess what… it worked a treat! Everybody got up. Everybody had something to say and no one failed.
Ok, so you might say that someone trying something over and over again is no longer about failure, it’s about misguided belief. Really? At what point does it become misguided belief? Is it when you do the same thing over and over and get the same result? Or is it about experimenting and adjusting and tweaking your original idea? How does trying out new ideas and not giving up constitute failure?
If you want to be reminded of some other great ‘failures’ see the picture above.
If you need someone to help you get up and applaud yourself for all you’ve done so far- get in touch!