Habits of successful artists – Spark 4: Fail often.2 min read


  1. Lack of success.
  2. The neglect or omission of expected or required action.
  3. The action or state of not functioning.

Failure is apparently no longer an option. People and organisations are becoming more afraid to fail than of not to act.

Indulge me in making a case for some kind of failing…

First: people as a species are not good in risk estimates. We tend to overestimate the probability of events that in reality only have a very low chance of occurring (some scientific reading for a change). That should already make you more at ease with falling into analysis paralysis. There is probably always one more check you can do before you actually move over to action — in order to make sure you have covered every base — but in reality, the subject of your extra effort probably will never occur in the first place.

Second: there is failing and failing. I want to make the case for quick and controlled failing.
Quick as in: don’t waste 70% of your resources on analysis, because in the end you will not only have no resources left to actually make something happen, you will also have noticed that you lost that much time that reality (the basis of your initial assumptions) has changed in the meanwhile .
Controlled as in an environment with limited impact and monitored (to enable you to learn and tweak).

Third: To really create something extra-ordinary, to go where no man (m/f) has gone before, there is no guidebook, so the change you can either calculate the outcome upfront or — just by good luck — end up with something perfect the first time, is close to 0% (which shows some interesting light on point one of course).

So set up a controllable place that enables you to fail… often!

Extra: Now is the time to start failing. The last decade is failure open for some setback (just look at the use of the word in the image below ;-)).


Laat van je horen.