Failure and Confidence

Why losing actually builds more confidence than winning.

To the average person, you’d think that the more someone wins, the more confidence they’ll have. The more games you win, the more likely you’ll have the confidence to take on more opponents. The more “winning” your looks, the more likely you’ll have the confidence to walk into any room/job interview/audition/date. Right?

Not necessarily. The problem with always winning, is that the very thought of failure can be debilitating. Think about it, the defending champ always has more to lose than the underdog, and the supermodel getting dumped, always makes the headlines. It gets to a point where that “winner” is so scared of losing, they decide never to try for anything other than what they know they’ll nail on the first try. And that is a problem if you want to grow.

Growing means challenging yourself, pushing your boundaries, making yourself a better person–whatever that means to you. That’s where failure is actually an ally rather than a foe. Because if you try something new, and you fail–and you get back up and do it again–you not only realize that the world didn’t end nor did you die a horrible death, but you are actually one step closer to achieving your goal.

The reason is because you develop RESILIENCE. That’s something you can never have enough of. Because once you realize how resilient you are, not only will you be courageous enough to be bad at something new, you’ll be excited to learn from the experience, and try again until you conquer it.

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx told Business Insider that her dad would celebrate their efforts rather than the outcome.

“What it did was reframe my definition of failure…Failure for me became not trying, versus the outcome.”

Now to tie this all back to acting. There are times that you won’t want to do an audition. Whatever the reason, it’s not my brand, I’m not ready for this type of role, it’s not worth my time–I’m not gonna get it anyway…I implore you to try.

Every audition is a chance to practice and hone your skill. I used to HATE self-tapes. I liked having an audience, I liked just cruising into the room and concentrating on just me. But, over time, I’ve been able to figure out the best and easiest way to turn out self-tapes (I’ve done 52 self-tapes this year alone).

The thing is, the more you do them, the easier they get. Now, I can usually bang out a self-tape in about 30-60 minutes–That is, once I’ve done all the prep work that I normally would for a live audition. And the most important thing to remember is, that even if you don’t get THIS job, you still get seen by industry professionals and you will get more auditions, and maybe even a role off for another role.

You heard that right. I once read for a supporting role (the first one I ever got the chance to read for). I was nervous, the thought of “I’m not ready for this” crossed my mind. But I did the work–memorizing and internalizing nine pages of sides in about 24 hours, and submitted the tape just before the deadline.

Did I get the part? No. But…about two weeks later, I got an email with a role offer from the same movie, but a different role. A role I didn’t audition for. Then, a few months later, I had the chance to audition for the same director, and booked a bigger role, on another movie–OFF MY SELF-TAPE!

To sum it all up, I’d like to remind you, that failure isn’t bad. Use the experience to grow and develop your resilience, then try again. This will not only give you more confidence, it will give you more opportunities. I’m gonna end this with a famous quote from a fellow Canadian Wayne Gretzky:

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”


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