The fear of failure came waging war against my creative endeavors, big time, this week.
It’s a fear that is common among creatives. Well, the thing is, geometric abstraction is one of my favorite things to do in art. For some reason, I like geometric shapes. They come easily to me when I’m doodling in my sketchbook. Somehow, I just seem to be drawn to geometric shapes – especially circles and triangles (diagonals).
The Fear of Failure Can Wear You Out
This week, I had to battle with “doing what I want” i.e. creating a design with geometric abstraction and “doing what I needed to do” i.e. creating something, anything for Stitch The Sketch. It’s a battle that wore me out and took quite a lot of my precious time to fight. In fact it took an entire day to regain peace. I don’t know about you but every now and then, I find myself fighting this same battle. Do I do what I feel like doing creatively or do I do what I need to do? I’m constantly in a fight to either go explore an idea, go to that place where there are no guarantees or to stay where it is safe, tried and true.
The Temptation to Give in to Failure is Strong
I must confess that it’s very tempting to stay with what is tried and true, especially when no one else will know but you. I’m not the bravest person that ever lived. I often struggle with which of these two paths to take. This week, I thought about choosing one of my simpler designs and repurposing them. That’ll have gotten the job done and I’ll have episode 34 taken care of. But I’ve been wanting to do geometric abstraction for so long. Truth be told, the fear of not being able to successfully execute a good geometric abstraction in stitch is what has been the underlying reason for my resistance. Of 34 episodes of Stitch the Sketch, this is only the second time that I’ve tried geometric abstraction.
Why is that so? How can you be so afraid of something you love, you may ask? It’s the fear of failure. The fear of not being able to replicate success. What if geometric abstraction is not well suited for thread sketching? The negative questions abound.
So finally, I decided to face my fears. I faced my fears in the way that’s worked for me in the past. I asked myself, “what if I succeed?” , “what if I developed a new and interesting technique for creating strong abstract compositions”? The author of this article explains that failure is not an endpoint. It’s the beginning of something new. He says when you think about failure in a more positive way, you not only become more creative, you also become more resilient.
The Thought of Success, Pales in Comparison to The Fear of Failure
As I started creating images of the possibility of success in my mind’s eye, the fear of failure started to fade into the background. Slowly, by slowly, as my mental picture of creative success increased, my fear of failure decreased.
I then scrapped the “tried and true” piece I’d been working on and started to work on the possibility of a creative success – a geometric abstraction executed in stitch. The result is “Circular Blocks #2”. And now fear of failing with geometric abstraction is a thing of the past. I’m looking forward to creating more in the weeks to come.
Video Showing How I Created “Circular Blocks #2”
In conclusion, whenever you face the prospect of a creative failure, stare down that fear of failure, by creating an image of success in your mind’s eye.
Question: Do you sometimes have to fight the fear of failure? What have you done to deal with fear of failure? Join in the discussion below.