Failing to Success


I wouldn't say I'm a perfectionist by any means, but I like what I like and like things to look, feel and seem a certain way. So, naturally I work hard to portray that image to others.

What does that mean? That means I will fail more times than I succeed.

Now society makes us view failing as a bad thing, and that mindset has been so worked into our heads that too many of us fail to act on anything because the fear of actual failure paralyzes us.

I bring this topic up because last night I was going through coating my screens, exposing the prints, washing them out and printing our new shirts that will be launching (hopefully) this month. All depends on if I can iron out the bugs.

“Don’t view failing as being a failure,

look at it as a learning lesson”

Through that whole process, every step of the way, I failed. Usually that would discourage me, damn near piss me off and not want to do the work anymore. That was my immaturity boiling up and taking over.

What I did instead was collect the information those failures taught me, gathered that knowledge to be able to use next time so the failures will either be fewer and far between or not at all.

Recently I bought a new 4 in 1 press, an upgrade from my one pallet press. It has a different style of pallet, as well as being longer. So when scaling and placing the image on the screen to expose, I did not take into account the size difference. I ended up placing and exposing the image higher up on the screen then what I wanted. The next fail came when trying to wash out the second screen that was exposed. It either was exposed too long, or the placement of the image was not tight to the screen, so light was able to get underneath to harden the rest of the screen; the problem will take a bit longer to figure out and understand.

Then came to printing the shirts. I test printed 3 times, with mediocre results. I was using a different ink and was hoping that it was just not mixed enough, I was hoping that flooding the screen would help. So, I went ahead and printed on one of the shirts. Sadly to say it did not come out the way I wanted it to.

It wasn't all bad though, because I didn't view it as a failure, I looked at it as a learning lesson.

The whole process from start to finish was a learning lesson, even though outside looking in, I failed at every step.

How did I fail?

  • First, placement of image on the screen

  • Second, image washout, either exposed too long or not tight to the screen, or something else

  • Third, mediocre and spotty printing results

I was able to learn from these failures, was that I could expose multiple screens, wash them out, test print, and do a real print in less than 2 hours. I also learned what kind of adjustments to make if the image placement is not right on the screen for the shirt; and also that I can change the pallet length corresponding to the press, so I can move the shirt in and out and adjust it to the placement of the image on the screen.

What else I learned was that I love the look of the ink on the shirt. Even though it didn’t come out even 90% to what I wanted, the parts that did turn out looked amazing, so there’s a silver lining right there.

It’s not enough to see and know your failures, but you need to learn from them; but even that isn’t enough. Because even if you learn what went wrong, you still have to put that knowledge into practice. So as much as it is great to have the knowledge it is inherently useless if you do not use it.

“Knowledge is power, but it’s meaningless without practice.”

That’s why you need to look at failing as a form of succeeding. How you do this is easy in theory but hard in practice, we are conditioned to see failing as well, being a failure. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Without failing you would never advance and be better than what you are now. If you never pushed your limits, you would never know how far you could go, how great you could be, and how much of a difference you could make in this world.

You don’t know what you don’t know, right. They why do you think we shouldn’t be failing; we should be celebrating our failures, because they help us grow and learn. It may seem like a step back when you fail, but really it’s a step forward to your success and goals and dreams.

Just like Edison developing the light bulb; he didn’t fail all those times before, he found over 900 ways not to make a light bulb. He spun it around to give himself hope and motivation to succeed.

Look, I know we all want to be perfect, and not do anything wrong; we all want to be first and be looked at as not being a screw up. But really that is just a fact of life. We are not perfect, we will do wrong constantly, we screw up daily, we have to back track, redo, rework and so on and so forth.

I am here to tell you that it is ok to fail, it’s actually great that you fail in life. In my latest failure I view it as a blessing, because now I know what not to do, so I can do it right the next time. You can either dwell on your failures, and let it consume you, brining you to fear failing and then in turn never doing anything worthwhile; or you can embrace your failures, celebrate them, and learn from them so you don’t do them again.

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