Posts Tagged ‘Adam Baker’

Let’s talk about failing.

Remember Adam Baker, producer of the documentary I’m Fine, Thanks? (The movie, incidentally, has now reached its funding goals, hooray!) He had this to say about how people overcome falling into complacency:

“They started to become comfortable being able to fail. I don’t mean they LIKED failing. Or even tried to fail. But they were o.k. with that being part of the process. Often, the desire NOT to fail was what kept people trapped for decades!”

How often do we hold ourselves back because we’re afraid to fail? Maybe people won’t like our final product (or us, heaven forbid). Maybe people will say no to us. Maybe people won’t buy our book, or listen to our songs, or even know we exist, even when we’ve given it our best shot. Maybe we’ll sound stupid. Maybe we’ll realize a major flaw only after our idea/plan/creative work has already been made public. Maybe maybe maybe.

So in order to protect ourselves from all those maybes, those things that might happen in the future, we fail before we even start, by not allowing ourselves to start (or finish). In this way we can preserve some illusion of perfection, of possibility, of “I could have done this if I’d really wanted to.” Some of us have been taught that failure is an unacceptable and unendurable sort of experience, and thus, we protect ourselves from the imagined agony it will cause.

Except. Failure only has the power over us that we grant it. Failure only causes us agonies if we allow it to do so. When we reframe failure to be okay, to be a learning experience, perhaps even a way of being able to tell that we’re saying yes to our own potential, then it loses its power to wound so deeply.

Even in the hero’s journey, the hero fails before succeeding.

“Boldness is genius.” I read this post by Sarah Peck recently, and it suits my current frame of mind (I even gave a spirited live reading of it, which I wish I had video of so we could laugh about it together). I’ve been trying to be more bold lately. And you know what has mostly happened?

I’ve failed. A lot more than usual. Things have fallen through. People have told me no. Vast quantities of uncertainty have wrapped their tendrils throughout my life. I’ve miscalculated the risks involved. I’ve been disappointed and frustrated. Sometimes I have a sensation not unlike banging my head repeatedly against a hard object.

But you know what? Failure? It’s not so bad. I haven’t disintegrated into a pile of green goo. My sense of self worth still exists. Sure, I don’t particularly enjoy being disappointed or frustrated, but I’m pretty sure I’d feel those emotions no matter what, and this way I’m not giving them power over me in the same way. I feel frustrated? Let’s try something new, take a break from whatever is getting under my skin. I feel disappointed? I’ll only dwell on it until I try the next thing. And if I’m being bold, that means I’m trying the next new thing a lot sooner.

The idea that failure always equals disaster is just plain wrong. Boldness IS genius. Comfort with failure unlocks many doors. And allowing ourselves to separate from all those crippling maybes is freedom.

How are you going to be bold this week?

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Today I have a really special treat for you. I’ve interviewed Adam Baker, the producer of the documentary I’m Fine, Thanks, which was one of the Kickstarter projects I highlighted on Tuesday. I was really excited to do this interview because the subject of the documentary, complacency, is so in line with what I talk about here on the Practical Free Spirit: priority setting, having adventures, being willing to take risks, and living an examined life.

So without further ado, here is the conversation Baker and I had:

What originally drew you to the topic of complacency in modern life?

My own story! Haha.

My wife and I were living that exact life that we discuss and talk about in the movie. We were doing o.k., but we weren’t doing what really made us come alive.

We made choices based on what we should do – or were supposed to do – and not really what was in line with our values.

In one of your blog posts, you said that two of the interviews made you cry. Will you tell us which two?

Well, at least two! But I’m sure I know the ones I was talking about then.
The first was Jonathan Fields’ interview. And that was twice. The first time was during an emotional story he told about 9/11 – and the second was when he told a different story about his daughter (I could relate as a parent).

The second interview was Victoria from Austin, TX. She’s a successful attorney who finds herself stuck between her career, wanting to stay at home with her young daughter, and her overwhelming debt from law school. The weight of her decisions was heavy for all of us in the room (you’ll have to wait and see it). 🙂

What are some ways in which we can combat complacency in our lives?

We found two common things amongst those that had successfully fought this problem:
  • They changed WHO they surrounded themselves with. The spent less time with people who brought them down and more with time with people who inspired and lifted them up. It was really that simple.
  • They started to become comfortable being able to fail. I don’t mean they LIKED failing. Or even tried to fail. But they were o.k. with that being part of the process. Often, the desire NOT to fail was what kept people trapped for decades!

Why do you think so many people are struggling with this issue right now?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the default life path. It’s encouraged and safe. It’s comfortable. So we all fall into that pattern.

It’s far easier to live someone else’s plan for your life – rather than to create your own plan. Creating your own plan is tough – REALLY tough.

But all the people we talked to said one thing – it was worth it!

What has been the hardest part of the process of making this documentary for you?

The sheer amount of work.

We spent 16-18 hour days on production while on the road. And, honestly, post production has almost been that crazy, as well!

We gave ourselves an incredibly short time frame – I’m sure we’ll be happy once it’s over – but during the process it can be stressful!

How did what you learned through making this film change you or the way you want to live your life?

It re-fortified my belief in what I’ve been trying to do for the last few years.

I’ve been working towards a more intentional life – but always have ups and downs. It’s the meaningful projects like this that remind me to stay the course!

What can people do if they’re interested in supporting this movie?

First, watch the Kickstarter trailer. (Amy interjects to add: Check it out! It’s a kick ass trailer.)

Second, if they feel compelled – back the project on Kickstarter (for as little as $5) – which gets you a download of the movie. We have many more levels for you to back, but kept it very affordable to help share with as many people as possible.

By supporting the Kickstarter, you ensure that this story can get out into the world. If we’re successful we’ll be able to share this with tens of thousands more people!

Lastly, just spread the word. Whether you can back the project or not – sharing the trailer and the campaign with your family and friends means a lot!

We’re on pace to become one of the most backed projects on Kickstarter (total number of people supporting us) – which is amazing!

Thank you, Baker, for taking the time to talk to us about your film. I can’t wait to see it! And I can pretty much guarantee I’ll be referencing this interview again, especially those excellent points on how to combat complacency.

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