An essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
Dr. Edwin Land, cofounder of Polaroid
I shared this nugget of truth in a little Instagram post this week as a vessel of encouragement to my fellow makers and creatives, and by doing so I also inspired a little more thought in my own life.
Creativity is so multi-faceted. You might have a knack for decorating your own home and making spaces beautiful and welcoming. You might have an painter’s hand or a sculptor’s touch. Or you may have this propensity for creating clever solutions or solving problems. But basically, it’s the use of our incredible imaginations to think up and act upon new and original ideas, or to use these ideas in innovative ways. It’s usually used in reference to the artistic or artsy, but that’s not the only definition. Creativity in business is also a fabulous quality!
The very essence of creativity comes from a creative Father. He is the epitome of original and amazing ideas. He has made each and every one of us in His image, including elements of his character–like his boundless creativity.
But, as Dr. Edwin Land succinctly pointed out in the quote above, creativity is not just the making of things–it is the making of things that could potentially not work out. Not be beautiful as we think. Or even totally bomb. (Oy, scary).
Dr. Land was an inventor and a scientist and helped found an exceedingly creative company: the Polaroid Corporation, an innovative and groundbreaking force in the creative field of photography. One notable contribution was the invention and production of the Polaroid instant camera. Pretty significant, wouldn’t you say.
But I would also venture to guess that Dr. Land and the Polaroid Corporation went through a countless number of plans, prototypes, and means of technology before being successful. Something like that just doesn’t poof itself into existence. It takes research, perseverance, a can-do attitude, and being okay with the potential to fail.
This part of creativity might be what trips me up the most. I love to make new things, but I don’t really like to mess up. A dozen new ideas might be in my head at one time, but following through on one or two is harder because: what if I fail?
But growth does not happen without a bit of stretching, a little risk, and a side of challenge. Ideas might flop, sure, but what if they just happen to succeed? Case in point: the Polaroid instant camera.
Recall that inspirational meme you see all over social media?
What if I fail?
Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?
Darling, what if you fly?
That is the icing on the cake, friends. There is always the risk of failure, but there is always the capacity for success. For flying beyond the reach of our anticipation. And if nothing else, you will learn. You will learn lessons of attempt and failure, what to do differently, and how you can help others in the process.
So be creative. Be all of what it means to be creative. You might fail a few times, but on the other hand, you just might soar.