Let’s Fail!

Let’s Fail photo

The new year is upon us (the Gregorian one, not the Jewish one), and once again I did not make a New Year's resolution. While that's not that surprising, this is surprising:

*Throws a huge wad of Monopoly money in the air*

Ok, that was a lot more effective when I was actually in front of people. But when it comes to making so-called resolutions, I tend to not. This is due in large part to being sincere with myself knowing that making a resolution that I intended to carry out would make me insincere with myself.

This got me to thinking, and when I get to thinking, I usually have to write something for Oy!Chicago about improving yours truly. (See last year's " Bump the Lamp," and then see this year's version, which has nothing to do with lamps or the act of bumping them. In fact, it has to do with metaphorically never buying a lamp in the first place.) For you see, I want -- nay, need -- nay, I'm a horse -- to fail more.

What I mean by failing more is that I want to try more things I'm actually interested in. The fact is I don't do that often enough. That's why I feel my biggest failure is not starting things -- because I don't want to fail them. Some would call that ironic. I would call that moronic.

So, moving forward this year, I have decided that to get myself to try more, I need to embrace the idea of being okay with failing more. And since I already failed in making a New Year's resolution, I already have a head start. Furthermore, I know that I'm truly grateful for some of the adventures in my life that I genuinely tried but failed at, like attempting a career in stand-up comedy.

I toyed around with just the idea of stand-up comedy for the better part of a decade before making any true attempts. Once I legitimately got into it though, I worked passionately on it for about six months and even landed a weekly paying gig. But in the end, it simply wasn't for me, and while for the sake of language consistency in this article that was a failed adventure, I am beyond proud of myself that I truly tried to do something I cared about.

You can tell I really cherished this experience because I was talking for a whole paragraph abut comedy and didn't even crack a joke about how I wrote that at the crack of dawn like some sort of crackpot in hopes that you'd crack a smile and not be one of those hard nuts to crack. This joke is just falling through the cracks.

Moving back to my intention to embrace failure, there's a couple truths I've learned in my adult life that will help me with this. First and foremost, nothing comes quick and easy. Second and fivemost I need time to fail. That's why when I ramp myself up to try something new, like the simple machine I am, I need plenty of time to process what I'm trying to do. You can blame my introvert ways for that. But more importantly, you can blame my ways of wanting to have a plan and be as educated as I can be when I attempt something new. I like to have clarity with my motivations while making sure I have realistic expectations.

On the flipside of that ("flipside" is a phrase which here means: "after I have failed") I need time to fail so I can learn from failure and try again. I learn much better from failure than from succeeding. While it's always good to do something correctly, for me it can reduce the need to do things better. In this regard, failure is my best option.

Given these certain adult truths, I plan to start with short-term goals that are smaller and actually obtainable, so as not to overextend myself in an effort to regularly extend myself.

That's why my first attempt at this is trying my hand at fermenting! And I failed right away because you're not supposed to ferment your hand, you're supposed to ferment vegetables.

But truthfully, I am trying fermenting and my first two batches had major flaws. And that's good because it helped me learn what I didn't do right so I can try again. (Who could possibly know that there was more than one way you can use garlic!? Who I say!?)

After my feat of fermentation folly, what exactly does the future hold for me in terms of failing more? Most likely it will at first be more small stuff, like purposefully not finishing a chapter in a book when I take a break (this is so hard for me right now) or - gulp -- actually exercising a little (this may be the hardest thing for me right now). But whatever comes my way, everything I do will be in an effort to keep going bigger and trying stuff I actually want to pursue.

And the simple fact is that this time, failing by not doing doesn't count as failing. So let's flail -- I mean fail!

Adam Daniel Miller photo 3
Originally from Chicago and well, still living in Chicago, is Adam Daniel Miller -- a lover of writing, a voiceover enthusiast and an overall funny guy, according to his mother. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa Undergraduate Writing Program where he ... Read More

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