Good is Good Enough

17 Dec

We are all, to some extent, scared of failure. But what is the worst that can happen if we fail? And do we actually exaggerate what we call ‘failure’ and what we call ‘success’?

Today I made a cake for my creative writing group. It was the first time that I’d tried the recipe and, when the cake was baked, it tasted slightly….funny. I wondered whether I should even take it to the class: “I’d be so embarrassed if my class-mates don’t like it”, I thought to myself.

Encouraged by my partner, I took my funny cake into the class despite my fears. Throughout the lesson I imagined my classmates screwing up their faces as they put the first spoonful into their mouths. I concentrated fiercely on the writing in front of me once everyone had a little slice on a plastic plate and were chewing the first pieces of prunes and oats and coconut.

“It’s a really nice cake!” my teacher said suddenly.

“Really good!” echoed my classmate, with a mouthful between her cheeks.

“Mm, I really like it”, replied someone else.

“Very original”, piped in a third person.

I was flattered by the compliments, but knew that they could have simply been polite comments. So I couldn’t believe it when my classmates asked enthusiastically for a second serving. It turned out that this funny failed cake was actually a success!

Despite having baked the cake with love and the positive thought of sharing something with people that I treasure, I was afraid that the cake would not be ‘good enough’. I was afraid that my classmates would forever remember me as an awful cook, and I preferred not to take the risk by not sharing the cake at all.

My cake wasn’t perfect, but it was good, and it brought a lot of joy and pleasure to the people with whom I shared it…and to me, too. Had I left it at home, as I had wanted to, I would have been judging my creation through my own critical eyes without even giving myself the chance to share it with others. I would have never found out that the cake was actually not that bad, and I would have been miserable for thinking that I made something rubbish.

And what if the cake had really been a failure? What is the worst that could have happened? My classmates would have finished their slices politely and left the class forgetting all about it. Not so dramatic now, is it? Not quite the end of the world that I imagined.

We often exaggerate what we call failure and what we call success. We often expect our work and our creations to be perfect, considering them failures if they are not. But ‘good’ is a success, too.

If we try our best and put our heart into something, can we even fail?

Go on, share that burnt biscuit or that unfinished poem with a friend. I assure you – they will be the happier for it.

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8 Responses to “Good is Good Enough”

  1. pattisj 18/12/2011 at 02:10 #

    Interesting lesson you’ve shared, not to be so critical, everyone has an opinion–and they may not be the same as mine.

  2. nrhatch 18/12/2011 at 03:47 #

    I baked some Ginger Snaps once, and because I’d substituted a few ingredients, they didn’t “snap” . . .

    I shared them anyway . . . and called them Ginger Scones. 😉

    Sounds like your cake was Good Enough . . . to eat!

    • l0ve0utl0ud 19/12/2011 at 20:49 #

      OO those Ginger Scones sound really good – I love sweet things with ginger in them!

  3. Savy 18/12/2011 at 15:01 #

    You are absolutely right… It is the thought and effort that went into the making of your cake….

    • l0ve0utl0ud 19/12/2011 at 20:50 #

      Yes, but isn’t it funny how we can forget the beauty of our efforts if what we make isn’t quite as we hoped it would be? 🙂

  4. Deborah the Closet Monster 18/12/2011 at 23:49 #

    I just had brunch with a girlfriend who’s been neck-deep in editing a movie the last few months. We were talking about plowing forth despite the fear of failure, and about how most of the good we’ve experienced has come from that. Sure, there’re occasional pitfalls, but those–as you’ve expressed!–are oft quickly forgotten, whereas the successes shine in memory (or many people’s memories!) for a long, long time to come.

    • l0ve0utl0ud 19/12/2011 at 20:51 #

      It’s true – other people forget our ‘failures’ almost instantly, whereas we hold on to them forever, letting them become the negative thoughts that haunt us. I wish your friend the best of luck in her movie-editing!

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  1. *SNAP* . . . Ginger Scones! | Spirit Lights The Way - 27/06/2013

    […] post:  Good is Good Enough (Love Out […]

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