Learning from failure

I remember sitting around in college, looking at the long list of majors and future career choices. Many of them seemed overwhelming, (I knew anything medical was completely out since I pass out at large quantities of blood and I have no idea how the body really works), many of them seemed uninspiring (accounting . . . yawn), and then there was a few that I had never heard of. The listed “graphic design” caught my eye as it was in the art section. I am completely embarrassed to admit that at that time, I had never heard of graphic design. In fact, I didn’t even know any professional artists growing up.

I began reading about this unknown “graphic design”, and asking anyone and everyone what this career entailed. The more I heard, the more I wanted to learn, and the more I learned, the more determined I came to be a graphic designer. Even my parents’ fear of a “starving artist” on their hands did not deter me from my vision of one day being a designer.

brittany scott painting

painting by Brittany Scott

The years have gone by, and what started out as pure ignorance of graphic design has grown to a full obsession. I eat, sleep, and dream it–it factors into almost every decision I make (what products to buy, what book to read, what movie to watch, what restaurant to eat at, etc). I work more than I want to know, but most of the time I feel like I am playing. I love what I do.

I am not saying that this journey has been all roses. In fact, I have to pay a hefty price and learn a lot, as all of us do. There are no free tickets in this life, and I can’t even begin to tell you the many failures I experienced in my journey to learn design. I will tell you that a) most of my professors disliked me, and did not even know my name, b) I am well acquainted with rejection letters and statements that you will never succeed, and c) any success comes at a painful price.

My college education was a difficult tumultuous time, and I left wondering if I would ever be able to be successful. In fact, when I started my business–I cried almost everyday, wondering if I would ever succeed and if anyone would ever hire me and why hadn’t I majored in something useful like accounting (sob).

Thankfully after a lot of works, tears, sleepless night, and a lot of self imposed learning, I have been able to carve a small space out for myself. I would not trade the last ten years for anything in the world. I have learned more from my failures, then I could have ever learned from success. Through my failures, I allowed myself to learn and study more, and garner a determination that I would be successful no matter what. I learned to look around me, and read as many books/blogs that I could. I reached out to others, eager for them to teach me all that they knew.  I learned to ask questions and not be afraid of the answers.

This love of learning has made all the difference in my life. As a mother and teacher, I constantly try to instill this love in my own children, and in my students. I want to help them learn from my failures, and know that they can succeed. I want them to be ready for their own failures, and to know to keep pushing, because big failures mean big successes later on, as long as you  work your way through it with determination and zeal.

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