We’ve all heard and read the awe-inspiring quotes about failure that flood our Pinterest boards and infiltrate sports movies supporting the underdogs. Sayings such as:
“You never fail until you stop trying.” ~Albert Einstein
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” ~Henry Ford
And they’re right, of course they’re right. I mean these are men who founded mass production techniques and discovered the world’s most famous equation. We should all listen and heed their advice. But the thing is, failing is kind of awful. It’s just not fun. Nobody actually enjoys failing. Because you feel inferior and out of control and like your time and energy has been a waste. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t speak for everyone – but surely I can’t be only one that shares these sentiments towards failing. This is the exact reason I hate bowling. Bowling isn’t fun when you can’t keep the ball in the lane, you consistently finish dead last, and you’re so weak you have to use the bright orange kiddie ball. And then what do you have to show for it? Blistered fingers and a stomach ache from the nachos at the snack bar. No thank you.
But what if you could change how you feel about failing or even rejection? What if you didn’t feel bad about yourself or weak or inferior. What if at the end of the day you just shrugged it off or laughed… is this even possible? Apparently it’s something people are willing to try and overcome as projects, such as rejection therapy, continue to grow and help people address their fears of rejection and failure.
I’ve had a lot of time on my hands while my husband has been travelling for the past 3 weeks. So, I set some time aside to complete projects around the house that I’ve been postponing. Little did I know, I was on my way to beginning my own failure project.
Let me begin by saying, fuck you Pinterest! Too abbrasive? I’m not sorry. It all begins innocently enough, pinning perfect little info graphics about “how to create a burlap wreath in 4 easy steps.” Then you get sucked in, fooled by the easiness and false savings. C’mon, you know it will cost more to buy the crafting supplies than to just buy something pre-made. But if I’m being honest, it’s not about Pinterest, it’s about me. And more specifically, my ability to create the perfect DIY inspiration board with a complete lack of skill to execute. So in a nutshell, I failed. I failed a lot. At pretty much everything I tried to do. And what do I have to show for it?
First, it was the homemade jambalaya. This is far outside my comfort zone, but the pictures and description just sounded oh so good. I wanted to test it while Jimmy was gone, as I knew it was a dish he’d enjoy – who can pass up chicken, sausage, and shrimp in a spicy cajun sauce?
Here’s what I was going for:
Credit: Gimme Some Oven
And here is what I created:
Doesn’t look that appealing does it? Nope. Didn’t taste all that great either! You know why? Because I thought I could cheat the system and throw all the ingredients in a crock pot so that I could come home to a delicious meal at the end of the day.
Lesson #1: Stick to the recipe. It is there for dim witted people like me who don’t understand basic things… like don’t cook rice in a slow cooker for 6 hours.
At the end of the day I had a crock pot of mush. I failed. I wasted ingredients and time, which I was reminded of over the next 4 days as I consumed the leftovers for lunch. Hey, it didn’t taste great, but I’m on a budget. Waste not what not. Will I make it again? Yes. It’s simple enough and next time I’ll just serve it OVER cooked rice. Which I will make in my rice cooker because even I can’t screw that up.
Next I felt an urge to add some color to our master bedroom walls. What better way than a little wall art? The thing about our home decor is that it is unique to us, with paintings and trinkets we have collected on our travels. This is not a Pottery Barn home, so I wanted something fun and unique. I thought something bright with a quote would be nice – you know, to get inspired and all. So, I trolled Pinterest for some inspiration. While searching for quotes that other people came up with, it hit me. There was a phrase my husband used in a card when he proposed, “Let’s wake up and live the dream.” It was perfect, now all I had to do was execute. I used a technique that I found on Pinterest using alphabet sticky letters and paint. Pretty fail proof right?
All I see is awkward spacing and the paint that bled through
Not so bad from a distance, until a piece of your art comes crashing down on you
Let me just say this was more difficult and time consuming than I intended. The letters were hard to work with because they kept sticking to me. I would finally get a word spelled out and the spacing was all wrong. The paint leaked through the letters. The cherry on top was when the “&” which I had glued on the canvas fell on my head in the middle of the night 2 days later. Still haven’t glued it back on yet.
Lesson #2: It’s not as easy as it looks. Don’t expect perfection, but be encouraged by your effort.
My third fail came when I tried to get in fall spirit. It’s hard to get excited about fall in Phoenix when the temperatures are still hitting 100 degrees. But hey, I wasn’t going to let my midwestern friends and family have all the decorating fun.
So I went with something really easy, the potted pumpkin:
Credit: Making Home Base
Hell, even I can’t screw this one up, right? I went to Goodwill and found two plastic buckets for a dollar each. Next stop was the supermarket to purchase some seasonal mums. Made it even easier when I realized I could just drop the planted mums in the bucket and be done. All I had to do was water them.
It actually turned out cute:
… for about a week.
Lesson #3: I don’t even know what happened. Maybe it was the heat, maybe I over watered them since the water couldn’t drain. But I have to laugh as I walk past my failure on the front porch. So maybe that’s the lesson – laugh at your own shortcomings.
Then buy new mums before your husband gets home. Maybe go with fake plants this time.
My fourth and final DIY was a doozy. I had been planning this in my head for months and laid out the arrangement for days. We have a space above our fireplace mantle that has been unoccupied since we moved in. It was the perfect place to create a wedding collage.
Something like this:
I measured everything perfectly and marked the wall accordingly. What I didn’t account for was my lack of height. I could just barely hit in the nails for the top row. But I did it. So off I went, nailing and hanging. Can you see where this is going?
BOOM. CRASH. As I hammered in the nail for the last frame, another frame had become detached from its backing and came crashing down. I’m still finding pieces of glass around the fireplace.
Lesson #4: Use common sense when hanging things that can break. Insert all the nails, then hang the frames.
After I cleaned up my mess I stepped back to admire my work. It was a moving collection of photographs from a remarkable day in which I married my best friend. And it was crooked. Dammit. I give up (kidding).
I don’t take myself so seriously as to think these are catastrophic life failures. They’re not. I recognize that even though things didn’t turn out as perfectly as I imagined on my projects, it’s better than doing nothing. And while I still do not enjoy failing, at the very least I can laugh at myself and share with others what NOT to do.
Sometimes learning what not to do is the best you can hope for.