I promised I wouldn’t do a piece on resolutions in January, because let’s face it, nobody needs to be made to feel worse by some smug git’s new health kick in this, the bleakest of months.
Instead I’ll share what I think has been the most useful thing I’ve learnt over the last twelve months…and that is: Just because you fail, that does not make you a failure.
In spring last year, I picked up a copy of Elizabeth Day’s ‘How To Fail’. Partly because I’d seen it recommended so many times, but mainly because I liked the cover (note to publishers everywhere — we are that fickle). And although I confess I never quite got round to finishing it, the sentiment of the book has (prepare for big statement) changed my life!
I’m someone who comes up with a dozen ‘brilliant’ ideas a day, business ideas, TV show pitches, novels that are sure to be bestselling, but within a day, or often less, I will talk myself out of pursuing any of them. This is probably in part because the ideas weren’t so brilliant in the first place, but also, Day reveals in her book, that the part of the brain that recognises errors and weighs our options is larger in women than in men. So it’s easy to become a product of your own self doubt.
As someone who is highly competitive, but also very unsure of her own ability, I’ve always found trying something new, without the certainty of success, extremely daunting. But suddenly, just being able to acknowledge that the trying is just as valuable as the outcome has freed me to fail at dozens of new things and still be proud of myself for having a go, in spite of my inner critic.
If some had said to me: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey,” a few months ago, I’d 100% have rolled my eyes. But I’m starting to realise there might be something in it. Before I start developing an unhealthy habit for inspirational quote-based artwork, I’d better find something else to fail at. And who knows, one day I might even succeed.