Our definition of failure defines more about us than we may realize, because the fear of failure is one of the most frequent sources of creative paralysis. When the perceived threat of potential consequence outweighs the perceived benefits of success, we stop acting.
Notice the word “perceived”. These consequences are often illusory, but in our mind they are as real as a tiger staring us down. The problem is that we can go for days, weeks, months, years, lifetimes without every really getting to the bottom of this fear. The result is that we forfeit our best work.
The two things that will paralyze us creatively faster than any others:
1. We haven’t defined success.
2. We haven’t defined failure.
If we don’t have a clear definition of what we’re trying to do, we will spin out. Simultaneously, if we don’t have a clear definition of “missing the mark” we will experience paralysis. The simple act of clarifying these two concepts can immediately yield courage for your creative efforts.
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