Failure should be a thing
Why do we focus so much on what went wrong instead of looking at what went right?
Failure is going to happen no matter how hard we try to be perfect. It’s something we should become comfortable with, almost friendly. The lessons we learn from everything that didn’t go right also shows us the path of how to make things go right.
Last night I put up a table at the LA Artwalk. It was a night of many first, and many amazing experiences. Some of which will forever be my own, never to be told, because some stories are meant only for yourself.
I only sold 1 sticker. $2. That’s it.
I had dozens of beautiful pastels, postcards, t-shirts, and a salesman’s smile up. Four hours of standing because I couldn’t carry a chair along with the table and my art on the train. Maybe 5 people took business cards and a total of 10 people stopped to look. Some may have focused on that, but, I decided to to look on the flip side.
I’d been holding off for months, mainly because of fear. Surface level it seems like a simple thing to do... grab a table, some of your art, find a place on the street, and set up. But, do you have stuff you can sell? Is it good enough to sell? Do you have the confidence to set up and bare everything you’ve done to the world and deal with the rejection? The anxiety about it had been riding me like an angry jockey with me as the reluctant steed.
As I was setting up my table, for some reason, I was reminded of those first nerve-wracking days when I was on a huge hitchhiking trip in Japan.
That trepidation of sticking out my thumb...the opening of myself to the whims of the world, the kindness of others, and trusting. It wasn’t an easy process to get comfortable with then, as selling my art is now, but I did it, and made my way around the island of Hokkaido as I’m going to make money creating what I love to create.
I think many some might have focused on the fact that nothing sold. But, I’ve been going through a lot of things that have helped shift my perspective. I don’t see it as people not wanting my work, but that I need to get crazy-better to attract their eyes. To create things they’ll want to buy, that catch their eye and keep it. Of course I still need to keep true to me and the art I want to create, but there is so much room for improvement and flexibility in what I can do.
I kept track of how many ‘look backs’ I got, and there were a lot.
‘Look backs’ you ask? When someone walks by gives a glance, their brain catches up, and then they look back to confirm. Like when you walk by someone you find really attractive and after you pass, you look back. Or just something interesting that your brain needs to finish comprehending. That means that I’m on the cusp of something, and that’s encouraging.
And the people I was next to...talk about lessons in awesome. At art festivals there’s always a group of people burning incense, banging a drum, and singing. The ones smiling and trying to get everyone involved and smiling. Those were my neighbors. The background on them could be a post in itself... Between the conversation and art exchanges we did, it made the whole night amazing. There’s more than just making sales at these get-togethers.
I’ve only touched on the lessons from last night at the art festival.
I could be discouraged by selling so little, but, instead, I’m going to take that in stride and look at all I learned. I learned that my work needs to change again, evolve, and I’ve got some ideas on how. I learned that events like that are mostly about the people who are next to you. I learned that most people that see my work won’t want to be a part of it, but there are people out there who do. I learned that I’m starting down a whole different path in life and that things will take time. I learned...well, a lot.
Failure is the place where we learn how to do things right. Don’t be scared of it. Make it a regular part of your life and I think you’ll succeed faster than you could imagine.
Thanks for stopping by! If you wanna help keep this new artist going, swing by and check out the most recent designs to see if there’s something you like. As always, there’s a 10% discount on all new Merch with code NEWDESIGN at the checkout.
My pin from Miguel
My hat from Chulo