Why Failure Is Your Friend In Creativity

4 min read

I’ve heard baseball described as a “game of failure,” which means that even the greatest batters in the game miss close to seven out of every ten tries. Well, using that same math, creativity, too, is a game of failure where the greatest creatives who have ever lived have had success with only a tiny, tiny proportion of their efforts. Given that this is the case, it might be worth your while to make failure your friend since, as an aspiring creative, you’ll be keeping pretty steady company. Stay with me here as I show you a few reasons why failure as a creative can ultimately be a good thing. 

It thickens your skin

One of the hardest lessons to learn as a creative is how to toughen up a bit when it comes to our ideas. Part of what helps us create is our sensitivity to the world around us. This is all fine and good when it comes to the creative process but when it comes to comments about our work, well that’s a little different. The reality is that not every creative effort we make will connect with people the way we hope it will. However, the more we realize that as creatives the only people we really need to please is ourselves, the easier it will become to hear less than kind comments about our work. Better yet, the more we hear those kinds of comments, the thicker our skin will become so that we can go about our business without letting unkind words get us down for long.

It’s a sign you’re putting yourself out there

If you’re “failing” when it comes to getting your work out there, that actually means you’re doing the right thing. If you don’t fail, that most likely means you’re not taking any risks and, I assure you, not failing is NOT the same as succeeding. So take heart. The more you hear no, the closer you’re coming to hearing yes. 

You’re being given an opportunity to learn

It can be discouraging when you feel like you’ve worked on something creative that isn’t up to par but the good news is that even if that particular project never gets better, you’ll take away the lesson. The more you can analyze what isn’t working in your efforts, the better able you’ll be to avoid those issues in subsequent tries. Learning from mistakes is the hallmark of growth in any career.

It forces you to recommit to your goal

Nothing strengthens commitment to a goal more than repeatedly picking yourself up from a failure and moving on. Developing your creativity is not for the faint of heart but if you’re willing to recommit each time things don’t go your way, you’ll build up a resilience that will serve you well throughout your entire career.

It makes you appreciate success when it comes

When creative success does come, it’s generally the result of what I like to think of as a critical mass of effort – and failure. What this does is give you a much deeper appreciation of what it takes to have any kind of creative success. That kind of gratitude goes a long way towards motivating you even further.

It keeps you humble

On the flip side, all that failure keeps you from ever feeling like you’ve totally got the whole “creativity thing” licked. In my case, I’ve written over a thousand songs and I still get nervous before I write. That’s a good thing.


So, if something doesn’t go your way, take a deep breath and try not to take it so hard. This is tough to do when you’re as passionate about your work as most budding creatives are. Creativity rewards those who can weather the storm of failure and come out the other side better, stronger and more grateful.

Find out more about my creativity & innovation workshops for business teams.

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