Friday, 21 January 2011

475 words on Risk and Failure

I’ve been thinking a lot about risk and failure lately. It’s coaching change season in the NFL. Right now the twenty-eight teams not still playing are evaluating, firing and hiring coaches. As I listen to radio and browse ESPN, it strikes me how many fired coaches there are that another team has hired. John Fox, head coach of the Carolina Panthers for ten or so years gets fired and the next week the Denver Broncos hire him as their head coach. Mike Singletary is out as the head coach of the 49ers. There’s no doubt someone’s going to pick him up to be a linebackers coach or Defensive coordinator. We equate the NFL, and all sports, really, with winning. Success. But the reality is the league is populated with losers. With failure. Most players and coaches will never win the Super Bowl. But they’re out there everyday giving it their best shot. These coaches shoulder huge pressure, take an enormous risk to win. But most won’t.

Risk: exposure to the chance of injury or loss. A hazard or dangerous chance.

JPS talked about failure too. He wrote and directed “Joe Versus the Volcano” which is widely regarded as a monumental flop. (It wasn’t. The returns weren’t bad, and the reviews were mixed. But somehow it got this stigma attached to it.) He talked about having to live through that and what it did to his career. But he kept writing. Then he won the Pulitzer. Suck it, critics.

My friend Erin has taken on this crazy self-assigned project to watch every movie Robert Duvall’s ever been in. She dug up a quote from him about the success and failure about certain projects. He basically said he doesn’t listen to critics. He keeps working.

Because I’ve been dumbfounded by some of the choices people in Hollywood make. Nic Cage baffles me. But it’s the same thing. He finds a project that he likes/believes in/looks fun and does it. He takes the risk. Either that or he’s lost HUGE in Vegas and has some rough dudes after him.

For these people, coaches and Hollywood types, the pressure to succeed is massive giant. The risk is on a level I can’t fathom. But they do it. They fail. A lot. Then they do it again.

I had a brush with failure yesterday. Someone in the building didn’t like something I’d shot for them. Said they were going to have to reshoot the whole thing with someone else. Normally, this would send me into a tailspin. Normally, I’d question the very fabric of my being. But today I’m not. I did the best I could with the materials, people and equipment I had to work with. I stayed on time and under budget. They didn’t like it. I can’t help that. I failed. But I slept great last night.

No comments: