On the best days, rehearsals for a play are enlightening, stimulating, challenging, moving, and loads of fun. On the worst days, they are the same. The one big difference is that the latter didn’t go according to your plan. You didn’t make as much progress as you had hoped, or wound up heading down a road that turned out to be a dead-end. Big deal. So what? As I tell my actors all the time, That’s why we rehearse. And as frustrating as that is, it’s a good thing.
Here’s the take away; it wasn’t wasted time. You may not have found the way to make the scene sizzle, but you did find many ways to make it fizzle. What’s the old Edison adage? He found 1,000 ways not to make a lightbulb work before finding the one that did make it work. His eventual victory didn’t make those first 1,000 worthless; it made them golden. And he’s not alone on the journey of innovation. Vacuum mogul James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes before coming up with a successful design for his famous vacuum cleaner. Pixar artists drew, discarded, and redrew over 125,000 storyboards when creating their ground breaking animated movie Toy Story. They feel that by thinking of their creative process as a trial and error journey, they will be more resilient to the inevitable failures.
So, you need to always put in the effort—the right effort. Remind yourself that you are closer after each failure to finding that successful solution. And tomorrow, when you start again, you will be in a better place than you were the day before.
What do you think? Can you see any positives in a frustrating, failed situation? Do you have experiences where the wrong turns set you up for the right one? If you choose to see it that way, you may be on the brink of a brilliant breakthrough, and you’ll be in good company.