Why failure is a good thing in the creative business

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Failure. It’s something we are all afraid of. It can, however, be an effective tool in helping you progress quickly in the creative industry. The following article will teach you why failure is not something you should fear, but something you should cherish.

Some clarification

Before really diving in, let me make one thing clear: Failure is a good thing as long as you keep trying. Once you let failure overcome you to the point where you quit, then it is obviously harmful. To understand what I mean, take a look at the graph below while reading the rest of this article.


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Follow along with the corresponding numbers on the graph above as I guide you through the creative process:


Each major creative project begins with a vision(1). This is the overall outcome that you hope to acheive when the creative project is finished.  Whether or not you know how to achieve your final goal, you should always have a vision in mind of what you hope to acheive when you are finished.


Once you have established the vision of what you hope to do, it is time to put your skills to the test. This step is called trial(2).  The key to this step is simply starting.  You will find you know how to do many of the things you had originally hoped to acheive when creating your vision. If you complete the entire project without any hangups or difficulties, you acheive ultimate success and your project is finished(3a). You have grown little if at all during the process for you have not learned any new skills or developed any new talents.


If you struggle during particular parts of the project, on the other hand, you enjoy small moments of failure(3b). Notice I used the word enjoy.  This is because through failure, we learn and grow.  When we don’t understand something, find our vision to be less than expected, or simply don’t perform according to our original plans, this forces us to learn and grow(3c). A creative who comes away from this experience has gained many new abilities and grown in the process.


The cycle continues. After resolvng particular moments of failure through learning and growth, one must return either to the original vision or to the trial process where the cycle must continue until reaching success.  By following this pattern you will not only achieve success in the work that you do, but you will also learn and grow as a result. This will help you be more prepared and less likely to fail during your next creative project.

What are some ways you have grown through failure in your creative career? Share them with us!

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About Preston D Lee

Preston is an entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and the founder of this blog. You can contact him via twitter at @prestondlee.

Leave a Comment



  1. I love the way you have represented the creative process with your diagram. I have found that this applies to all areas in life. I have also learned like you have depicted that even after a success there are still trials to come. Thanks again for all the great posts you have.


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