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failure & creativity

Blogs are funny little things. I think a lot of people who read blogs assume there is very little failure behind the glossy, bright, pretty images that end up on the main page. Maybe some people are just that good, but I can tell you that I am not one of them. You might see a lot of “pretty” here but behind every success there is usually a failed prototype that got me heading in the right direction. My best work leaves behind a trail of failure. I am not afraid to fail. I’m eager to learn how I can make something better so I do not fail. But I haven’t always been this way. It has taken many years, two wonderful therapists and a very tolerant husband to help me combat what was a Type A, perfectionist personality that was so strong it was inhibiting my ability to cope with failure. I was paralyzed by the fear of it. But that was then. This is now. These days (thank heavens) failure is just part of how I learn.

image source: The Obsessive Imagist, as found on pinterest.

Last night I had a big fail in my kitchen. I mean f-bomb laden, mess everywhere, needing an entire outfit change EPIC FAIL. It was not pretty. But it was real and raw and although frustrating, I am sill not done with the stupid ice cream recipe that I have struggled with two times now. I am dead set on getting it right. I will not give up. It was ugly, but I am not giving up. But why? Why not walk away & do something I am good at instead? It sure would be much easier that way. But what fun is that.

I remember all of those times that I was sick to my stomach on test day, worried I was going to fail. I remember all those AP English tests with Ms. Sabatini where I had to walk into class & when given a blank sheet of paper, come up with the entire week’s vocab list, in order, with the verbatim definition. I remember getting an A- on the final exam in her class because I used the word “flourish” to describe flowers in a vase. Surely cut flowers could not flourish, she explained. It was the failures that I remember. The vocabulary words I got wrong. It was everything that I did not know that I am meticulous about now. I was a Communication major. Not a Communications major. Communications people fix telephone pole wires. Didn’t make that mistake twice to my business professor in college. Do you remember the failures? or the successes? Maybe it’s the plague of being a Type A personality, but I am much more apt to remember success following a failure.

So what? Why do we care? Well, I was making linen flowers & listening to a TED talk on my iPhone by Sir Ken Robinson (one of my new favorite people.) He addressed why schools are killing creativity & how to handle talking about failure with our children. I found the talk to be so insightful that I started to listen to more of his lectures–he is so full of wisdom that I wanted to share. This is definitely worth watching (or listening to while doing dishes). I hope you enjoy it as much as I have:

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  • jamie - Maybe I am more Type A than I thought! I am tackling the caramel recipe again this week for the boy’s birthday party that I failed miserably at three times since my first attempt at Halloween! Good luck to us both! Thanks for sharing Ken, too!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - My husband and I listened to his talks on TED a couple of months ago. He is a great speaker. I’m glad that you are not giving up on the ice cream. You should post another picture when you conquer this recipe. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • catherine - Thanks so much for sharing this! I loved it!!!ReplyCancel

  • nowlin roberts - “Thanks for introducing me to Ken”…Inspiring, even if I don’t have kids!ReplyCancel

  • Judy N - I like your sincerity and ability to admit you fail here and there. It gives your blog honesty and a reality that a lot of blog are missing! And another note…are you ever going to do your picture ledge tutorial?? I have the perfect place for a couple, but I’m waiting for your instructions…. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Project 52:36 | do-overs » styleberry BLOG - […] the first time. But…I try, try again. & I think that is why I end up having success. It’s certainly not because I don’t fail. It’s because I keep learning & keep trying new things. ESPECIALLY with my dear sweet two […]ReplyCancel

  • rain0506 - I’m glad that you are not giving up on the ice cream. You should post another picture when you conquer this recipe. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Anderson - You are so right.. Mistakes happen for a reason! As individual our mistake is what make us unique! Thanks for this post!ReplyCancel

  • Jhona amz - Nice blog, can you post another recipe! hope you should provide it.ReplyCancel

  • ingking - Some bloggers talks about failure as something dreadful. No one who is on the top never experience failure. Failure is a great teacher, a motivator, learn from it, and be strong because of it.It was nice of you that you never give up! see? failure is a motivating factor, it only shows you are not a quitter.ReplyCancel

  • Maranda - Success can never be achieved without first failing. It’s just the nature of life for us humans. You crawl and fall before you walk and run.ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - We never success without hard working..ReplyCancel

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