When Failures Aren't Really Failures

My attempt at drawing an apple and orange

My attempt at drawing an apple and orange

Have you ever thought something was a failure because it didn’t go as planned? It’s such normal thing to have expectations. I mean who ever wants to fail at something. “Yes, let me fail on an epic scale at this new thing”, said no one ever. 

So… I took a drawing class this past weekend. I thought it would be really fun. The only thing I’ve ever drawn was stick figures. I went into it with an open mind. I just wanted to learn something new. 

Our instructor was quite patient. She was so uplifting, inspiring, and encouraging. She was just the kind of teacher you want to have when you’re trying something new.

We got to practice drawing a lot in this one day workshop. We got to use different types of paper and pencils. We shaded. We highlighted. Our little group happily sat chatting and drawing.

I noticed something kind of quickly though. My drawings were like a 5 year olds drawings compared to every other person in the class. I’m not saying that to put myself down. I’ve seen some five year olds draw amazing pictures. My drawings looked so very different from not only everyone’s drawings in the class but from the item I was attempting to draw. I was truly dumbfounded by this.What my eyes saw I literally could not translate on to paper in a meaningful kind of way. My apple and orange looked like a fuzzy blob, not anything close to resembling an apple and orange in any way.

Yes when you try something new you’re not going to be Picasso out of the gate. This experience was quite unexpected however. As the class went along I realized I really wasn’t even enjoying the drawing process. It wasn’t  that fun to me. 

It kind of hit me that as much as this all felt like one big failure, it wasn’t even close to a failure. I tried something new. I wasn’t very good. I didn’t really even enjoy the process. And I didn’t walk away with a desire to practice more and get better. 

How great is this? I don’t want to do this. No biggie. I got to try something new, meet some cool people, and find out that I should stay with drawing stick figures. 

This is freedom. Who cares that it didn’t work out? Who cares that I don’t want to be Picasso? Who cares that I now have several drawings that look like a 5 year old probably created them?

 I showed up and gave it a go. And in the end that’s all that really matters. I’ll keep showing up and giving things a go. Eventually something might stick. Or not. It means nothing about me as a person. That’s the key here. We usually make what we see as failures mean that WE have failed. That we are flawed in some way. That is simply not true. Period. 

I ask you, where in your life can you look back and see something that looked like a failure that really wasn’t? What seems like a failure now? Can you see that differently too? 

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan