Rethinking the F word

If something doesn’t work out, don’t think of it as a Failure. In fact, eliminate that word from your vocabulary–along with fail, failed, and failing.

It’s not failing if you try and things don't work out as you had planned, as long as you gave it your best effort. You learned from the experience, you have new information, and you can correct your path and move on. You started with what you saw as a straight line to success, but you had to take an unexpected detour. 

Rather than dwelling on your dissatisfaction, go with the flow! Trust that a higher power has something better in mind for you. You never know what is in store.

This is a little preview of Monday’s Art Marketing Action newsletter about assessing risk. Look for it.

Words and phrases to use besides the F words above:
unsatisfied, unsatisfactory, unexpected, “not as I would have liked,” “not as I planned,” “unanticipated results,” "hit a bump," "took a detour," "reassessing my plan," "didn't see that coming," "will have to rethink this"

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7 thoughts on “Rethinking the F word”

  1. I’ve had the past year of getting thrown twists and turns and running into roadblocks and suffering from ‘art apathy’ and much of it left me feeling terrible. But I can’t say that F word. I have to turn these unfortunate things into motivations that make me want to work harder now, so I can reach those things I couldn’t reach the first time. I have a lot of great stories from my life, funny, amusing, dark, happy, tragic, joyous, blond moments, and such. If everything had worked out just how I’d planned it, I would have no story to tell. No past pains to create emotionally charged pieces. Most importantly, I would have lost some of the most defining moments in my life. Moments that could’ve been called failures have made me a better artist and a better person in the long run.

  2. Miles Davis said “Do not fear mistakes, there are none.” That quotation comes from a marvelous little book titled “Fail Better.” It has many such words of wisdom, as well as brief tales of some very famous faliures: among them, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison and Winston Churchill. It’s available on Amazon at <>. “Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.” – Jack Lemmon

  3. Evidently, one cannot include a url in a posted comment, so just be aware that there are two books with the same title on Amazon. The one the previous post mentions is by Hester Studio.

  4. Although I hear what you’re saying here and mostly agree I do think there are times when facing up to failure is an honest and good thing as well as humbling. I made a serious error in judgement several years ago that cost me way too much–and not just in money though it did wipe out all my savings, my IRA, etc. I started a business that was underfunded, not well thought out and which closed within the first two years. It was a failure. That doesn’t make ME a failure, but facing the fact that I made a really big mistake isn’t really a bad thing for me. I’m finally back on my feet financially and have mended many broken fences along the way and am ready to move on. But realizing my weaknesses has been ok. Not great, but ok. Did I learn a lot? Actually, not much that is really positive or useful as I moved on. What I learned most was that my judgement is not always sound, that I didn’t do my homework and that I got a little cocky about my abilities. Useful lessons? Of course. And I paid a lot for them. And I did survive. That was a good lesson….. I’ve done many things in my life that haven’t worked out and have learned tons so the payoff was ok and I felt ok about it. This one is not one of those for me, at least not yet. I’m not a person prone to depression, which is good, because this would have been really tough. Instead I moved on and reassessed everything in my life…especially my artwork and am actually beginning a new business, one that is well thought out and doesn’t involve my art or retail at all. Failure can be a good tool if used to help us move forward. I agree that one should not use the idea of it to wallow and make excuses for not moving forward or in another direction but maybe sometimes, honestly considering it, is a bit of surprising gift all in its own packaging…. Sorry so long–thanks for giving me a chance to articulate this thought….maybe it wasn’t such a failure after all 😉

  5. Within every failure lies the seeds of future success. I don’t know who said that, but my photography mentor shared the quote with me after one of my flaming *un*successes. Having things go wrong makes me take a hard look at why. Sometimes it is a mistake in planning or prep or thinking. Sometimes it is out of my control. Your post came during a week of *f* for me. I simply faced up to the fact that I set out to do something….and wasn’t able to reach the goal. After some indepth evaluating, I’m moving on. Lessons have been learned (again) and the tears wiped away. I’m a wiser person today than I was a month ago.

  6. One of my favorite blog posts that I have written was my post explaining why I paint more “junker” paintings now because I am a better artist than I used to be. I’ve linked myself to it.

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