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July 8th, 2020
This episode somehow just doesn’t want to get written. It’s taken a few failed paragraphs, all deleted to realize just how appropriate it is to fail the attempt to write an episode entitled useful dud.
Comedic self-castigation aside…
How do we usually react when our effort fail to take off? When our hope is greeted by the silence of a dud that forever keeps the other shoe from dropping. If it’s in the presence of others, it’s likely we can expect embarrassment. Perhaps some negative self-talk creeps in. Perhaps just the sadness of crushed hopes.
There is a miss opportunity with such stereotypical reactions. We can do a better job of navigating this corner of the emotional landscape. For one, a dud is better than no attempt at all. Sure it can be demoralizing to release a project to the sound of crickets, but realize how insidious it is to avoid that embarrassment and shame by not trying at all in the first place? It is possible to avoid a lot of difficult emotions by simply never trying in the first place. But such a stance admits that there’s no value in difficult emotions, that they are wholly bad, and can’t be better navigated, transmuted, and even, appreciated. Those who never try in the first place rob themselves of possible success certainly, but also the enormous benefit that can come from enjoying failure.
Be proud to send up a dud every once in a while. That invisible spectacle is for no one other than yourself. It’s proof, that you can handle it happening. It’s training so that when something you’ve inadvertently put a lot of hope behind – fails - you don’t crumble and dissolve into disappointment.
You smile for your ability to gracefully entertain embarrassment, even in the face of those who clearly feel it for you.
If you can enjoy failure, then you can learn anything, because we don’t learn through success, we learn by falsifying our ideas with failed experiments. Duds turn out to be useful in two ways. Not only are we challenged with a way to deal with such emotions, but such duds tell us what doesn’t work.