Where Trying to Avoid Failure Gets You - Advice for Actors

Where Trying to Avoid Failure Gets You

When we’re starting out, we often relate failure with no being good with something. Those that are good at something understand that failure is a part of being good at something.

Professional ice skaters fall many more times than amateurs because they push the boundaries of their abilities constantly.

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Students on our full time acting course often spend the first half year trying to avoid making mistakes, trying to avoid failure and trying really hard. It must seem terribly counter-intuitive to be told that they shouldn’t avoid making mistakes.

Trying to avoid failure makes you tense, focused almost solely on failure, risk averse and it stifles all of your creativity.

Students usually associate this with learning technique but actually they are so worried about getting stuff wrong, they aren’t able to apply the technique.

When you’re starting out, you’ve got nothing to lose. Throw yourself into the deep end. Don’t worry about the outcome, the outcome is out of your control. Throw yourself in and embrace the result. The result will often be not at all what you want it to be. However, when you allow yourself to just go for it, you allow tiny moments of your creative instinct, your spirit, luck and everything in between to influence you.

Over time, you can also get afraid of failure. I have clients that have done long runs of plays, or been in television series and are worried about not being able to do anything else.

The thing is that you can’t avoid failure just because you think failure is something to be avoided. You have to positively encourage it. You have to show that you have no fear of failure, and guess what? You start failing less. Much much less.

Trying to avoid failure attracts failure like a magnet. Accepting that failure is part of the process of getting good and giving into it, robs it of all of its power over you - and makes it less likely to happen.

You’ve got ideas - pitch in, what’s the worst thing that can happen? And how likely is it that it will happen?

COACH

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