The Lovely Teaching And Restorative Powers of…Failure

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Hey there, hero!

I had a chance to teach the Getting Started in Voice Over class, live, here in LA at The Groundlings, the home of many SNL stars and a legendary improv and sketch school.

When teaching the 4th Key, your mindset, the subject of failure came up.

And I think the students in the room might have been a bit shocked at how awesome I think failure actually can be.

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Hope this helps!



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  1. Very true. Ive had to learn not only from failure, but how to handle it better. In the past I would berate myself first for failure, getting retty hard on myself out of the fear of failure as well. Aggrevation would naturally rise up, then i would calm down, and fix the issue. But moving on from that negative place was hard.

    But since then, what has really helped me is to make peace with the areas I struggle in. To make peace with the failure, so when it happens I am not shocked by it. You know what I mean? I no longer expect perfection RIGHT AWAY. I now allow it as a possibility- a possible part of the process.

    I have also learned a HUGE lesson that failure wont kill me. Lol. One of my BIGGEST encounters with failure was my first audiobook. (David, you remember me calling you in panic on that one). But it all worked out. I didnt die. The book was a huge success. I got that as a memory that carries me every time I work. I will never forget that experience.

  2. Nietzsche said, “My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati [literally, “love of fate,” the embracing of one’s fate]: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it … but love it.”

  3. As in training and execution, so in life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve profited greatly from being (proverbially) slapped upside the head by adversity. Our normal lot is to go on in our established direction until pushed by something that opposes that trajectory (yup, consider Newton’s first law of motion). My most profound lessons have come quickly from such opposing forces. “Bring it on!”

  4. My greatest failure, with regard to VO training for me, is “failure to launch.” Having enjoyed my semi-retirement (still doing contract work) since 2013, I finally decided to “go back to school.” So, here I am, launching into whatever lies ahead.

  5. Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.-Henry Ford
    It isn’t easy but you learn so much from it. I don’t love to fail but once I get over the emotional charge and look back I see all the value in the situation. I learn way more from failure but I do love a good success! 🙂

  6. My beloved long-time acting teacher, Michael Howard says, “The road to fulfillment of an aesthetic idea is paved with failures…True, it is the fear of failure, not the failure itself which is the enemy. In a larger sense, the artist must hold to her commitment to a theatrically unusual, startling, productive idea, even if it is greeted by naysayers as as inadequate or unacceptable. The artist herself will discover if that idea is a dismal failure, in spite of the naysayers, a great beginning. Chance it. It is that fear of failure that makes the artist settle for what’s easy, conventional, acceptable.To be willing to fail, to have your eye on a truth that is perhaps hidden and elusive, and to pursue it close to ridicule, even to derision, takes extraordinary courage. Actor courage….To fail again and again has buried in it the potential for developing that one illuminating and deeply satisfying moment that is the secret of good acting, important acting.”

    Thank you, David, for reinforcing this important truth!