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Abraham, Steven and Walt

Failure. Not a pretty word for many of us and not something many people want to admit to.


Yet we also know in theory that failure can be the most important way to learn a vital lesson, even if you don’t know what that lesson is at the time and the lightbulb moment comes retrospectively.

How many examples can you think of in your own life when a sense of failure (real or imagined) spurred you on to achieve something great? Or what seemed like a disastrous situation turned into a silver lining for a major opportunity?

When we’re challenged or ‘failing’, our thinking can make us feel very threatened. Defensive. But if we are mindful about deepening our learning then we can enjoy the process of letting go of our fears, our judgements and expectations of success.

At Incognito Artists we want to succeed on a grand scale every time. Of course! It’s no fun to screw up! But we’re all human and if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with something original. Being innovative and original is crucial to our business.

What is the point of being alive if you don’t do something remarkable! BOOM!

**Here are a few successful failures to inspire you today (I need some of this inspiration myself, hence the subject of this post):
Abraham Lincoln : Failing in business in 1831, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1836, defeated in his run for president in 1856, Abraham Lincoln was no stranger to rejection and failure. Rather than taking these signs as a motivation for surrender, he refused to stop trying his best. In this great man’s words: “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” Lincoln was elected in 1861 as the 16th President of the United States of America. The amount of rejection you receive is not a defining factor. Success is still within your reach.

Steven Spielberg : Regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Steven Spielberg is a familiar household name. It is surprising to realise therefore that the genius behind Jaws and E.T. had poor grades in high school, getting him rejected from the University of Southern California three times. While he was in college, he caught the eye of executives at Universal, who signed him as a television director in 1969. This meant that he would not finish his college degree for another 33 years. Perseverance and acceptance of failure is the key to success, after all. “Even though I get older, what I do never gets old, and that’s what I think keeps me hungry.” Bad grades in high school aside, there is no questioning the genius involved. To date, Spielberg has directed 51 films and has been awarded three Oscars.

Walt Disney : Mickey Mouse creator Walt Disney dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt at joining the army. One of his earlier ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt due to his lack of ability to run a successful business. He was once fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” Yet today, the genius behind Disney studios is responsible for generations of childhood memories and dreams. From Snow White to Frozen, Disney will continue to entertain the world for generations to come. The logic behind this is simple: “… we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

My Dad taught me that nothing in life can be achieved without the 3Ds – discipline, desire and determination. These three men above have the 3Ds in spades.

I have crystal clear examples etched on my brain of how failures in my life have spurred me on to achieve or forced me to shed my ego so I’m open to being curious again, giving up something to receive something . These are the kinds of things I talk about when making speeches, or when I’m chatting to younger singers/performers asking me for my advice or opinion. Our ‘wounds’ make us more accessible to others, more determined and also more able to make a difference in this awesome world.

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts –
Winston Churchill

High fives from the desert in Utah!



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