Failure Does Not Exist
I’m more certain that failure does not exist than I’ve ever been.
Recently, M. Night Shyamalan gave a commencement speech at Drexel University. In that speech, he mentioned that he had become the cautionary tale. He had become the example of someone who started out right and then revealed himself to be a sham.
I don’t know about you, but I feel M. Night Shyamalan’s plight on a visceral level.
Sixth Sense really blew my mind. I love the movie The Village… But I also thought the movies that followed it sucked, beyond belief. How could somebody make good movies, and then make truly bad movies?
The thought of it kind of puts me in a cold sweat. I could be making good Art and then, suddenly in the future, I could just be failing miserably.
Unfortunately, I don’t have to go far to see failures in my own life. My journey as an Artist gives me lots of moments to think back on…
What’s incredibly powerful about this commencement speech from M. Night Shyamalan is his comeback. He mentions the moment in which no one would work with him. So he put his house up as collateral for a $5 million loan and self financed a film called The Visit.
He shoots it. He edits it. He shows it all around the different studios. They all reject it.
He’s taken out a loan on his family house. He’s already shot the film. And now no one wants it. Holy shit! I mean. Oh, my God… What the hell is going to happen now?
Can you imagine that level of stress? And what’s the solution?
The amazing thing about being an Artist, to me, is that the Problem is the Work. As in, the Work might suck or not be ready. And the Solution is the Work. As in, I’ve just got to spend more time and I’ve got to work more.
The only way forward or backward for an Artist is the Work.
M. Night Shyamalan said that, once he realized he couldn’t control the opinions of the critics, the audience or the Hollywood executives, things changed:
It all felt suddenly so simple — intensely simple. … I felt relief and, more to the point, I felt powerful. So I went into the editing room the next day and I just made one scene better, just one moment better, and I just concentrated. … Then I made another moment better and another moment better and another moment better. … I just stopped thinking about selling the movie. I stopped thinking about what was gonna happen to me. And I just got addicted this feeling of finding that next thing, making that next thing better, and I just did that day after day after day after day.
“Get addicted to making things better.” Such a powerful thought, right?
Imagine if you could forget about what your inner critic says and if you could be addicted to just making your work better one day at a time… What could you achieve?
As M. Night says: A person who concentrates on what they have power over becomes unlimited in their ability to manifest what they want in the world.
Just a thought for you as you go into your weekend. 🙂