When was the last time you learned something new just for fun?
I’m not simply asking,
when was the last time
you tried something new that was fun.
I mean just what I ask:
When was the last time you tried something new
for no other reason but that you felt it would be fun?
This isn’t something I do naturally.
If you ask me what I do for fun,
you may just stump me.
I like practicality
and I like results.
It’s a discipline for me
to do something fun -
to find joy in the process.
But as I have developed in this discipline
I have found it very rewarding;
even more rewarding than accomplishing a productive goal.
If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you try?
If you knew failure was impossible,
what would you attempt?
If you removed fear of failure from the equation,
what would you be brave enough to do?
What technique would you learn?
What new material would you use?
What new tool would you try?
It’s tempting to think that if you try a new technique
failure is not managing to use that technique like a professional.
But what if you defined your goal
not as “learning this technique”
but rather “trying this technique”?
What if you simply allowed yourself to experiment
and called it success if you experimented well,
ignoring the question of whether or not you became proficient.
When you’re trying something new,
is far too much.
The bravery of trying something new
is not in facing the pressure of proficiency,
but in simply attempting a thing.
Lean into the process of learning.
and lean into the process of learning.
Try something new
(that thing you would attempt if failure was impossible)
and do it for the sake of trying it.
Think of a child
learning to draw:
The first time you hand her a crayon
you do not expect her to stay inside the lines
or even to hold the crayon “correctly.”
No, this is a phase of exploration and experimentation.
You expect, and even encourage,
scribbles and awkward hand motions,
for in these she will learn
the basic mechanics of drawing
and eventually writing.
You do not call her first marks on the page
because you did not set out to expect
You set out to expect
a random doodle
and so, she succeeded,
and you praised her for it.
Every time you attempt something new,
you are that child.
Do not chide her for less-than-perfect work.
She is on a journey;
simply encourage her to stay on the path of discovery.
That is more than the average person would do.
Most prefer to stay in their comfort zones.
Praise your inner child when she steps out of hers!
Now you can’t fail, so try it!
Now that you understand that
the goal is not proficiency -
that success is not defined by the results,
but rather the process of experimentation -
what will you do?
That thing that came to mind
when I asked you
what you would attempt
if you could not fail?
Look at it from this new perspective;
If failure is simply
failing to try,
then you are failing right now.
But you can stop.
Go try that thing.
Begin to attempt it.
That is the only way out of failure;
so long as you lean into the process of learning,
failure is impossible.