Using Failure to Create Success | The Intrepid Hearts

There is no innovation and creativity without failure
— Brené Brown

"You will fail."

This is how I start one of the first games I play with my Improv students every semester. It's called the Impossible Scene game. There are only five rules that the players must follow, and if they break any of them the entire class yells out "IMPOSSIBLE!", bursts into wild applause, and two new players jump onstage ready to go. Typically, I'll get the next pair of players by shouting out, "Who's ready to fail next?!"

You would think that if you told someone that they would fail at a game they wouldn't even want to try to do it. However, that's never been the attitude I've seen in class. These kids can barely wait to get up onstage to try and complete the game even though I've already told them that they're going to fail at it. Often times, multiple kids rush to the stage to play.

This is the whole point of the game. I want my students to be unafraid of falling flat on their face, and if that does happen, I want them to get back up and go at it again. As audience members, I want them to cheer on their classmates whenever they fail because it's important to celebrate that that person dares to fail.

Recently, I started thinking about what would happen if we embodied the energy of these students playing the Impossible Scene game every day of our lives. I feel like we'd see a transformation. Instead of allowing our perceived failures to stop us, we'd jump right back into the ring ready to try again.

Rather than feeling like we have to go at it alone, we'd build a community of people ready to cheer us on and encourage us to keep going should we "mess up". We'd be more empathetic about other peoples' failures because we'd know that they were trying their best. Instead of tearing others down, we'd build them up.

I'd like to challenge you this week to play your own version of the Impossible Scene game. If you fall on your face, don't tear yourself apart. Celebrate the fact that you totally kicked ass trying, get back up, and get back to work. Whatever you do, don't stop moving forward! Use what you've learned from each failure to innovate and create something magnificent.

Now, who's ready to fail?

Unlock Your Creativity with Tarot | The Intrepid Hearts

"I'm not good enough."

I used to tell myself this all the time. I'd hold myself back from going after opportunities because I was continually telling myself that I wasn't good enough. Slowly but surely, I was stifling my creativity because I'd find more excuses not to use it than allowing myself to harness this innate freedom of expression.

We're all born creative individuals. When we're children we create all sorts of artwork, songs, skits, etc. without any worries. However, as we grow older we start censoring ourselves, judging our work and comparing it to others. Soon we start deciding that our creations aren't "good enough", so we stop allowing ourselves to use our creative muscle.

Comparison is the thief of joy.
— Theodore Roosevelt

I believe that the act of creation is a deeply spiritual and personal process, and that Tarot has the ability to help us tune in and reconnect with ourselves so that we can create something that resonates with us on a soul level.

When we create from this space we stop comparing our work to others because our focus shifts to birthing our creations into the world. Today I'd like to offer some exercises for using Tarot to reconnect with your creativity and make something that deeply resonates with you.

How Does It Feel?

*I'm using painting as an example, but please note that this exercise can be used with many different things. You can use this to develop a song, the mood of a story or picture, choreography for a dance, the set design of a play -- the possibilities are endless!

Let's say you're staring at a blank canvas, frozen because you don't know where to start. Shuffle the cards and pull one. Acknowledge your first reaction to the card, but continue to gaze at it. Notice what images, emotions and sensations come up for you while taking in this card. How does it make you feel? Elated? Numb? Are there butterflies in your stomach or do your feet feel like lead blocks? Whatever it is, pick up your brush and start painting using those feelings and sensations as your inspiration.

What's the Story?

If you're a writer feeling blocked, your Tarot cards can help! Shuffle your deck, pull a card, and start telling the story you see in the picture on the card. How can you incorporate this into your own story? Could it help create a new plot line or character?

Creating Characters

As an actor, this exercise is fun for me. If I feel like I need help developing a character I'll ask my cards for inspiration. Then I incorporate whichever card I pull into the character. For example, maybe I pull the High Priestess so I decide that my character has a secret. I define what that secret is based on the text to help add a more depth. You can use the cards to define how a character moves, talks, etc.

Asking for Inspiration

Maybe you want to start a new creative endeavor, but you're not exactly sure what that is just yet. You can ask the cards for inspiration and then pull a few. See what ideas pop up while looking at them and then get started creating with these in mind. Maybe you're an artist and you pull the Emperor, so your next piece could be a reflection of strength and power, filled with lots of straight lines and right angles.

These are just a few of the exercises I've created for myself, but there's no doubt in my mind that you'd be able to find many more uses for the Tarot to help inspire your creativity. My biggest piece of advice is to find what resonates with you and continue moving in that direction. 

It might feel strange at first because our creative muscle starts to atrophy if we stop using it, but the more you continue creating from that soul space, the stronger it will become and soon you'll find yourself back in that creative flow.


If you'd like help busting through your creative blocks, consider booking a reading. Together we'll see what's holding you back and develop a plan to help you move forward.