Experiments in Rejection and Failure / by Chris Foley

Most of the things that I’ve done have taken me quite a long time to realize any sense of real visibility in doing them. That’s just always been the arc of my life in anything that I was doing. I didn’t really get any traction with my career for about the first decade. I now look back and call that first decade experiments in rejection and failure.

The quote above is from Debbie Millman, the guest on Jocelyn Glei’s latest episode of Hurry Slowly, who talks about how the most important projects in life take time and simply cannot be realized in short timespans. Another quote from Debbie on her conversation with David Lee Roth (of Van Halen fame):

“We were talking about the arc of a career and what he [David Lee Roth] said was, ‘You don’t really ever want to reach the peak because when you reach the peak you’re often alone, and it’s always cold. The only direction is down.’ I thought, ‘My, God, that’s got to be one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever heard.’”

Debbie’s way of looking at the trajectory of long-term creative projects is useful in plotting your own path, and I like her idea of the 10-year creative plan. The long roads are often the ones with the most potential.

Debbie Millman: The Speed of Achievement (Apple Podcasts, Spotify)

(Photo courtesy of Diego Jimenez on Unsplash)