What an important reminder! This morning I’d like to introduce you to the man behind that video, John Spencer (spencerauthor.com, @spencerideas). Force of nature. Sketchy video animator. Professor. Author. Inspiration. In his own words:
My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both. ~ John Spencer
And in my words — and with another excellent animation — earlier this morning after stumbling upon the video above (and subsequently bingeing on about a dozen more):
— virtualDavis (@virtualDavis) January 26, 2017
Risk, Fail, Risk, Succeed
John Spencer asks us to consider failure as a legitimate and acceptable possibility whenever we take creative risks. Taking risks always involves the chance that we will fail. But taking risks is a process, a commitment to ongoing experimentation, and failures are simply iterations on the journey to success. Rather than embracing failure as defeatism, it is liberating and empowering. Embracing the possibility, even the inevitability, of intermittent failure enables us to replace comfort, security, restraint, predictability, fear, and cowardice with permission and confidence to take creative risks. Permission to fail. Confidence to succeed.
This could fail. I know it sounds negative and maybe even pessimistic. But, actually, it’s the opposite… a reminder that every single creative act is an experiment. It might work. It might fail… [but] every failure is another step closer to success. ~ John Spencer
Risk Getting Unstuck
This is precisely the choice and the process I’ve been exploring at 40×41.com for the last few years. Getting unstuck from midlife malaise involves risk (and inevitably plenty of failure), but we shouldn’t eschew risk or failure simply because middle age brings heightened responsibility and stakes. Nor, of course, should we abandon our wits altogether and jump into the seat of an overpriced, lipstick red sports car. Or worse.
Balance decades of experience with the sort of creative risks that will rekindle passion and curiosity and wonder and hope. I’m no guru, but it’s certainly been a rewarding adventure for me so far!
Sure, I could take the safe route. But I’d rather take a plunge into the creative unknown. I’d rather do things that are challenging. Because ultimately that’s where the creative life is found. ~ John Spencer
More from John Spencer
If you’ve made it this far I’m guessing you might be curious where you can tap into more of John Spencer’s motivational bounty. Here are a few links to help launch your adventure.
- Be Fearless in Your Creative Risks (video) is just the reminder we all need. Always.
- John Spencer’s “sketchy videos” about creativity, education, innovation, and more.
- John Spencer’s tweet stream which is a great way to follow his über productive output.
- John Spencer’s free Design Thinking Toolkit for Teachers. Yes, that kind of free.
- How I Create Sketchy Videos is a blog post in which John Spencer explains his process.