Failure

Photo credit: the-violin.com
Photo credit: the-violin.com

Failure is an interesting paradox.

Have you ever been doing something, for example, drawing a picture in an art class, and you realize that the person sitting next to you is doing WAY BETTER than you are? Would you crumple your picture and chuck it in the trash as hard as you could? If your answer was yes, you might be like me, afraid to fail. I play the violin and piano, and these instruments challenge my tendency to expect perfection, so I have had plenty of experience feeling like I have failed.

Whether it is doing something simple, like playing a board game, or something difficult, like computer programming, failure is always there, like a big black hole waiting to suck us in.

But failure can actually help us. Our miserable experiences can teach us how to cope with defeat and embarrassment.

I read an interesting article on a website called The Bulletproof Musician. It says that in many cases, people graduate from college or high school and their peaceful little bubble of a failure-free childhood is popped when they land in the real world. Having been deprived of failure, they have no idea how to deal with it. They struggle, but don’t know how to experiment and find their own way in life. These people often end up depressed and frustrated.

Maybe doing hard things helps us to learn from our mistakes and realize we aren’t perfect. Everyone fails and sometimes we don’t get over it for a little while. I had a violin recital once where I made quite a few mistakes on the song I was playing. My family and friends tried to comfort me but I shrugged them off. For a few days I basically shut everybody out and was upset that I had “failed”. Then I started to realize that this one experience did not define my talent. I looked back on my previous recitals, and started to remember that I could improve and get over that frustrating moment.

Now I try to learn from unhappy times when I have “failed”. It has made me a much happier person.

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3 thoughts on “Failure

  1. I play the violin also and one recital I was playing without my music and I froze in the middle of the song. The pianist played the into to the next part a couple of times until I remembered. Now I practice a little extra before a recital and go over my music while others play and it has never happened again.

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