Do you find it difficult to tell someone that you have succeeded at something? I know I did, I was much more at ease with belittling myself in the matter and would almost find it easy to say something like "This is crap, you don't want to see that". I'd often bury my small achievements under a big ol' pile of self-deprecating nonsense and it often showed to the people I'd present it to too. That lack of self-confidence is definitely not an easy task to just hurdle on over, but taking pride in your own achievements, no matter how big or small is extremely important, I can't stress that enough.
Failure is subjective and completely relative to who you are and there are an abundance of factors that play into what you might think of as a failure. What someone might call a complete failure/loss somebody else could see as a potential success/victory which also ties into success being the same, subjective. Of course we're talking about success and failure within the creative side of things, but honestly, is there much difference between this and any other medium?
There are a handful of phrases that get passed around on the internet regularly which, quite frankly, I don't agree with and generally don't sit well with a lot of people starting out in the creative industry, thankfully however, there are also a selection of motivating and uplifting quotes that aren't as demoralising. Phrases such as "Your first 5 games will fail" and "Your first business will be a failure" are, to put it bluntly, complete bullshit. I'd go into detail on why I think these phrases are nothing but demotivating to an aspiring game developer but @folmerkelly's article on the matter hits the nail on the head and is a fantastic read, check it out here. Don't get me wrong, what you consider as a failure is always a stepping stone to success, as long as you realise that it's never a waste of time then you'll come out of the other side much more knowledgeable about the subject.
“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” - Gena Showalter
I realise that this article is sounding more and more like a glass half full/empty argument but in hindsight that's always going to be the case when talking about positives and negatives. Speaking of which, only recently a twitter friend of mine (@McFunkypants) posted a short, but to the point poll, simply asking "are you successful?", the results were actually surprising to me.
It's kinda sad when more than half (only just, but even so) of the votes were from people who regard themselves as not successful. For what reason, I mean I can only assume most of these people are creative artists, be that design, graphics, music etc. I reckon it comes down to what I talked about earlier, self-deprecation. Okay, 49% said that they are successful and that's brilliant, but the others found it was easier to vote 'no' because they couldn't see any victories/wins/successes in their creations or for another reason?
"Failure is success if we learn from it." - Malcolm Forbes
Anyway, those are my ramblings on my views of success and failure and how you really should look at the smaller things you have achieved and never devalue your own creativity by chalking them down to a failure, because doing so will most likely lead to it. Remember this: Not succeeding isn't the same as failing, it's simply a stepping stone towards a desired goal.