Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Dancing with Failure"

Would you say yes? If failure walked up and asked you for this dance? Would you say yes? I'm not sure I would. 

Chris Horne is a devil of a failure. He says so himself. In fact, he just spoke to a gaggle of creatives and community members in Akron, OH about his dance with failure. Now, just to clarify, he is the successful creator of The Devil Strip, an art, music, and culture magazine/ newspaper/ online news source covering everything hip and relevant in Akron. He also won the Knight Foundation grant to do something called Unbox Akron which is rolling out this fall. Unbox Akron is incredibly creative and the anticipation of its debut is killing me. But how did he get there? Through great failures, he says. 

Creative Cog Akron, an artsy speaker series put together by Katelyn Gainer, kicked off with Chris Horne's "Dancing with Failure." Horne took me by surprise. In his conversation about failure he directed us toward community rather than self-realization. He said that "we are wired for connectivity and being connected is what gives us confidence ... Being local is being human." 

He suggested that whether you will fail or succeed in your pursuit is not the question. The questions are, rather, whether you are taking action that makes us better, whether you are telling stories, and whether you are connecting people. We all seek a purpose, a drive, and a mastery. Can we help each other in these pursuits? Horne says yes. We know ourselves through our community, they help you find energy for your ideas and push you forward. But they can also catch you when you fail and help gather the pieces of failure to try again. 

Dancing is such a whimsical word to use with something as weighty as failure. Trying something potentially incredible could take off and soar or it could crash into a burning wreck. That burning wreckage is exactly why failure is weighed down with so much fear. But Horne said that to dance with failure isn't to try to lighten its reality. To dance with failure is to let it be a possibility. And in community, that isn't such a scary prospect. 

Live Local. Dare Greatly. 

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." - T. Roosevelt 

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