006. Love your masks and adore your failures.
I remember deciding that I wanted to be a musician. It was an easy decision. There simply wasn’t anything else I could imagine being, or at least, anything else that I felt I was as good at. It took me a long time to realise that the way a musician thinks about themselves can be quite different than the way people in other professions view themselves.
When you grow up with a skill for something, you start to value yourself through your skill. So, if I play well, then I’m a good person. If I play badly, then…well you get the idea. I wonder if a graphic designer, who goes to work and has a bad day, comes home and think they are a terrible person? There is even a term for this; It’s called Musicians Focal Dystonia. It basically means, “I broke a string, I hate myself.”
Now, obviously, this is not the healthiest state of mind. However, I think that the worst outcome of this way of thinking is that, because your sense of identity is so strongly rooted in being something, a writer, an artist or in my case a musician then you find yourself afraid of failing. If I fail at my task then I fail as myself.
The problem is not that failure is not a bad thing; Failure is great! It is one of the only true ways that you really know that you are going in the right direction, creatively. How many times have you gone over and over something so you could get it just right? Failure, after failure, until its perfect. If it’s too easy then what you’re doing is not worthwhile. If you are not failing, you are not growing. If you are not trying something thats outside your comfort zone, then you are not living. You’re just going through the motions and playing it safe.