No one practices or prepares to make a mistake, particularly in the midst of creating or performing, but mistakes are an unavoidable part of the creative process, particularly in the early stages of artistic development. They are uncomfortable to endure in the short term and sometimes expensive, in time, merit or money, but hold currency towards the mastery of craft, undiscovered knowledge, and the cementing of individual style and artistic expression. However, that same currency can remained unclaimed when embarassment or condemnation linger in the face of creative error. How can an artist remain open and receptive, when mistakes occur, to collect on their creative potential?
The determining factor in realizing the creative potential of mistakes is an artist's outlook. The ability to look for, locate and draw on the silver lining of every flawed production or performance turns every mistake into an opportunity for growth and discovery—as mistakes draw attention to missing elements within the creative equation, as well as undiscovered variables. Mistakes are also helpful in sharpening an artist's understanding within the business of art, highlighting shortfalls and shortcomings within strategy, personnel and the marketplace, towards realizing the full potential of business and consumer commerce. Essentially, oversight is the shortcut to insight.
The Apostle Paul spoke on recognizing the potential value in every area of life, including mistakes, stating: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In parallel, in the face of creative victory or mistep, all things are working toward the good of an artist's creative development.
Ideally, mistakes should be welcomed as a form of quality assurance—a gentle, sometimes harsh prodding to address areas that require attention towards the achievement of creative and business goals. They are an open invitation to explore beyond the parameters of creative and business standards, providing an opportunity to expand an artist's language and vocabulary within their individual genre(s) and marketplace.
As jazz master and trumpeter, Miles Davis, once advised: “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”