I haven’t blogged for a really long time. Probably the last time I properly blogged, was the first week of my internship which was well over 9 months ago. Since then, a lot has happened: the biggest thing that happened to me was fucking up big time; I failed and I failed hard.
From student through to a professional graphic designer, you are constantly told to risk failure and that failure can be good for you. This always confused me, as why would you intentionally try something that wasn’t going to work – how could you possibly gain from failing?
When I was a student I played safe due to my ‘what’s the point in failing’ approach. I had never performed badly at anything – in no way am I being big headed; I always worked hard, put the hours in and got good grades. The word ‘fail’ wasn’t in my vocabulary – that changed.
I failed at my internship. To simplify all the failures into one – I failed as I wasn’t offered a job.
Initially I blamed everyone else but myself (typical denial). As it is now many months down the line, I can be honest to myself about the situation. I can see what happened now without embarrassment/upset of failing. I can now see where I went wrong: I changed from someone who was confident, capable and excited about the future of design into a person who didn’t want to design any more. I lost my design mojo. I niavely assumed that as I had done so well before, it would just continue. WRONG.
However, not being offered a job was the best thing to happen to me. Why? Because it forced me to change.
I now have a very different job, I work in-house at Ecommerce website. The company is small as well as a start up. I would have never had this opportunity or have thought about this sector if it wasn’t for failing.
I have also changed my attitude; I say yes to any opportunities that come my way even if I don’t think I am 100% capable. I have found that learning through mistakes is actually the quickest way to learn and that making mistakes is not the worst thing in the world to happen. I am also more open to feedback, I don’t take it personally when someone asks for amends. Previously, I was controlling of projects (egotistical reasons), now I have lightened up and this has benefited group work. This also goes for my design principles: I now understand my feedback on my degree assessment form — that I should do things for the sake of it and just enjoy it as finding reasons and analysing instantly stops you making and creating.
One big thing I do differently is to remain enthusiastic about everything. During my internship there was one person who was constantly excited about every project, excited about ideas, excited just by life in general. I had previously thought that it was just his personality but it isn’t – it is a choice that as individuals we make. I have come to realise that the way you feel is due to the way that you think. If you think positive then you can only feel positive. For example there can never be a good or a bad job, only good or bad feelings about that job.
Ultimately what has failing taught me — a good designer is not how creative, capable or skilled they are but the attitude they posses.
I’m really glad I failed.