I failed today.
It sucked, actually.
It knocked me down, left me spinning a bit, raised questions…
even worst, raised doubts.
I’ve come to find out over the past few years that failure is a part of the process. The process of making. The process of living. The process of teaching and learning.
I had written a proposal for a large grant that would greatly aid the efforts of my project. I spent days pouring over the application process and making sure the dozen page report I was submitting met all the criteria. Writing is a difficult task for a math teacher who is typically not so inclined grammatically perhaps you’ve noticed by reading this.
I thought for sure the organization would see this proposal as a way to impact educational environments on a global scale. I thought for sure they would see how this money and their name could go towards opening up high quality educational resources for teachers around the world. After all, that is the way I was seeing this project. But instead this is the response I got from my work.
I am writing to inform you of the grant evaluation committee’s decision to not fund your project at this time for reasons such as,
The proposal did not clearly identify specific ways in which the project would be an innovation in the use of the technology in education, or have a specific measurable impact on a target population.
I got it wrong.
My art was not valued in the eyes of others.
I could chose to be defeated. I could chose to walk the other way and hold on to my failures. I can keep looking for people who see things the way I see them. Those who will agree with me and see my creations as I see them.
I can chose to iterate. I can listen to my audience. The judge of my work. The beholder of my art. I can tune in to what they see as beautiful, acceptable, and honorable. I can wipe the canvas clean, if needed, or just had the missing strokes, colors, textures that are needed to make this work beautiful in the eyes of the beholder.
The doubt raised by this failure can not get the best of us. Doubt must lead us to seek. Seeking must lead us to a deeper understanding. This understanding must lead us to iteration and transformation.
This is what it means to live fully, exposing your work, risking your heart by creating your art. To keep that art locked up where no one can criticize it, admire it, or display it would be selfish of us and robbing ourselves and the world of something beautiful.
Keep seeking. Keep making. Keep transforming. You and the world will benefit.