Matt Smith, cringing and taking a failure bow.
Failure is a huge thing. Retrain how you respond to it and you're opening doors that, for most people, remain closed for a lifetime.
What are the benefits of opening these doors? Learn to celebrate your failures, not just verbally or intellectually, but with your whole body, and you will feel yourself becoming bravely creative. The secret? You don't need to be so brave any more.
What feels bad isn't the failure itself, but the way years of conditioning have taught us to respond to it - not with pride at our own courage for taking a risk and turning our curiosity into action, but with self-reprimand or worse, and a physical manifestation of our own shame at getting something 'wrong'.
Here are Matt Smith's delicious delvings into failure at TEDx Bellevue. His term the 'Failure Bow' describes something we've been playing with at State of Play too, a concept familiar to improvisers the world over and, as Matt points out, to trapeze artists. When you take a fall, mess up or fail in any way, throw your arms in the air, grin inanely and take your bow! You took a risk. You messed up. That deserves a round of applause because without people like you, things - be they your life, your company or the world we live in - will stagnate. Yes, we'll keep the status quo, but will we really do what we're here to do? Of course not.
So, stop playing it safe, take a few risks and see how gloriously you can fail. And whatever you do, remember your dumb-assed grin.