The value of a bad demo

I often give perfectly good demos of whatever it is I’ve been working on. Afterward, I feel good, the audience feels good, we all feel good.

But every once in a while I give a demo that doesn’t go so well. And sometimes it’s just a total disaster. Everything goes wrong, the entire thing crashes and burns, and my poor broken ego is left to pick up the pieces, both my self-confidence and my faith in the Universe badly shaken.

I’ve learned over time that these failed demos, as stressful as they inevitably are, are the best fuel to fire creativity. When I’m feeling fat and comfortable, I tend to become lazy. “Hey,” I tell myself, “everything is great!” And that’s when things tend to stagnate.

But after a true failure, my survival instincts come roaring up from wherever they usually hide. In those few days after a disappointing talk, or a demo that has gone horribly wrong, I’ve generally done my best work. Suddenly the cobwebs clear away, my mind is focused and sharp, and creativity begins to flow.

Apparently, nothing succeeds like a good failure.

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