Blog / On Failure & Risk

On Failure

& Risk

July 29, 2015


SOME RUNNERS FOLLOW A ROUTINE – a set path or a closed circuit or even a treadmill. Running like that helps you keep pace and see measured progress from yesterday to today. It’s predictable, dependable – and there’s something to that. At Fancy Rhino, we often prefer the Forrest Gump method.


At Fancy, our path has never felt like the treadmill. It’s always more Forrest Gump. And for anyone charting a new path – Pilgrims or Apollo crews or Lewis and Clark or anyone out there trying to blaze a trail, you have to hold some common assumptions:

1. The future is unknown, so it's yours for the taking.

2. Learn quickly the art of improv.

3. Failure is, and will always be, part of the game.

Failure. Not a fun word. Failing at a new venture means losing money, time, and trust. Real consequences. All reasons to avoid it. All reasons to stay on the treadmill.

But what might we miss? Every year we take some risks at Fancy. Some pay off. Others fail. We skin our knees more than once. We believe it is worth it. But how do we allow for failure without hurting each other in the process? Andrew Stanton, one of Pixar’s lead directors, embraces risk and failure like old friends. This is from one of our favorite books around the office, Creativity Inc.:

"Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new (and, as such, should be seen as valuable; without them, we’d have no originality)...Get a bike that’s as low to the ground as you can find, put on elbow and knee pads so you’re not afraid of falling, and go.’ Companies with big vision evolve and fail. Why? Because they are trying to do something new. Doing the same thing over and over again –running the treadmill – might be easier, but we’d hit our limits far too soon.

-Creativity Inc.

With Stanton, I’ll add: Get in the Willy Wonka elevator. It goes sideways and slantways and longways and everyways you can imagine. Hold onto your hat and break through that ceiling. There’s a whole big world out there to explore.