Tyler took on the topic of failure at the OOM blog last week (the post is here) and so it became a dinner conversation, as so many blog topics do in our household. I discussed it over sparkling wine (Tyler had a beer) because I am one of those people who drinks champagne whether or not there is something to celebrate.
The gist of Tyler's post is that we've all heard the cliches from highly successful people: you can't succeed without first overcoming failure. But now, there are studies to back it up.
As Tyler writes: "By looking at the brain activity of students during moments of failure, they were able to determine that some people react to errors by brushing them aside and moving on, and others by dwelling on them and learning from them. Those people believe they can get better at anything."
I thought about it during our conversation. I wondered about this kind of growth mindset. Did I have it?
As the bubbles went to my head I tried to yell over the restaurant's steady hum: Yes! I do!
Hello my name is Melissa and I write fiction. And, so far, I have been nothing but an epic failure at it. I'm not fishing for compliments. This is cold hard fact. I've got countless unpublishable short stories. Terrible novels and screenplays abandoned in a drawer. I send my work out to agents and editors and journals and magazines, every piece of paper, every digital file like a little legendary unicorn that no one else can see. No one has ever said 'yes' to me on this path to publication. I'm not lying. I have never, EVER heard the word 'yes' when it comes to my fiction.
I have no reason to believe I will succeed. I have every reason to believe I'll continue failing. But all this 'no' has never once deterred me.
I did not understand until Tyler presented the facts. Failure is sadly misunderstood. Failure makes you better. Failure is something to celebrate. Thank goodness I always have sparkling wine at the ready.
So what do you think? Are you ready and willing to fail with me?