He had around 2000 failed inventions before the light bulb. I love that because it says more about Edison's character than anything. He didn't give up!
I feel like failing doesn’t get enough press. By the time a "famous" person comes screeching across your radar...they've already come into their period of success. The other weird thing is that even when we know that they had their "hundreds of rejections" or came from "the wrong side of the tracks"--we can never feel the deep, crappy, slog that is failing and failing hard. Failing numerous times. For whatever reason, our human spirit can't feel another person's failure, but it can imagine and put itself in the shoes of success.
How much time do we spend dreaming about success? Now try to daydream about failure. There's a mental block. It gets all hazy or even sounds good--like coming from the projects, or writing in a cafe because there's no heat in your house...it sounds like the start of a movie. It doesn't get down into our soul the way we can enter a dream of achieving what we want. Now, I'm not talking about the voices that say something isn't possible, or "YOU'RE GOING TO FAIL!" that keeps people from doing anything, but imagining the journey of doing something, failing, or it being really hard, and then getting back up to do it again.
That would be the story of the last two weeks for me.
I tried some different painting techniques that I haven’t tried before.
And they all flopped. Every single one.
But last night as I was going to bed, inspiration struck. I have an idea to take the art pieces, cut them up and make them into something better.
Last week, when I should have been posting, I actually met up with a friend from church, Kevin, who is an engineer and fellow "trier of things" who has some experience with plexiglass. We experimented with different ways of cutting the plexi (without shattering it) and next he's going show me how to bend it with heat.
That’s why I love art, you can keep plugging until it becomes something.
Do you want to know one of my my biggest pet peeves? People who armchair coach. These are the people that cross their arms and shake their heads and say they would have done it a completely different way...without ever getting up and trying something of their own. They talk like they know--and often are the voices that discourage us--where the reality is, they have no idea because they've never succeeded OR failed. These are the people with brilliant ideas...that are so overly invested in the success of those ideas that they can't handle if they fail--and so they are paralyzed.
Sorry, does that sound cranky? My philosophy in life is that if I'm going to lead something--I'm going to be the first guy in the ditch, and I'm going to be guy with the most mud and sweat on me. It's hard for me to respect the dude that's standing above me out of the hole I'm digging, perfectly clean, telling me that maybe I should try digging here next time. Fellow artists, creators, workers, ministry peeps, we need to find people that are further into the muck than we are, and that's where we should turn for advice, encouragement and help.
These are the people who can tell us that the streaks of failure are okay. Normal. Useful.
It might not be what you set out to create, but if you keep poking at it it will form eventually into something good.