The Rise, by Sarah Lewis, helps to provide an insight into the roles that failure plays in our lives. Lewis tries to motivate her readers by demonstrating various instances and the book of people who persisted and won. It is meant to give a second chance to people who become discouraged because of failing. She describes the contributions of such experiences in our journeys towards success. “I still remember the shudder when I sensed a knowing as sure as fact that I might only truly become my fullest self if I explored and stayed open to moving through daunting terrain” (Sarah Lewis). The book is very influential for all the artists who have given up or feel like giving up. According to Lewis, artists experience several instances of failure as they rely on their own creativity.
Failure is part of the winning process, so we should learn to forge on instead of giving up. Most of the greatest human minds have always considered failure as a part of their success. Ordinary artists are weakened by their experiences of failure. It has led to the loss of many careers and great art men out there. It is one of the motivating factors behind the book. Through this book, Sarah Lewis proves failure as a never end but just another beginning. She educates people on why fear should never be feared but embraced and understood. The essay aims to prove; why martial artists are effective teachers on failure acceptance, why some artists fail for ignoring criticism, and why amateurs are more creative than experts.
Analysis of Evaluation Assignment Of The Rise by Sara Lewis
Most people describe artists and athletes in black and white terms, such as; success or failure and good or bad. Such kind of hierarchical language is offensive and misguided because failure is what defines their success. Failure helps to achieve mastery. Lewis brings out the theme of mastery throughout the entire book. To understand the meaning of failure, Lewis explains what mastery is. It is endurance and not perfectionism. Many artists believe that mastery equates to success which is not the truth.
The book demonstrates mastery as perseverance which is the opposite of thriving in particular events or enhancing our public perception. Mastery is like chasing something hard to catch and striving to achieve the impossible. “Mastery requires endurance. Mastery, a word we don’t use often, is not the equivalent of what we might consider its cognate—perfectionism—an inhuman aim motivated by a concern with how others view us. Mastery is also not the same as success—an event-based victory based on a peak point, a punctuated moment in time. Mastery is not merely a commitment to a goal, but to a curved line, constant pursuit” (Lewis, Pg. 8).
Sara Blakey, an entrepreneur, was conditioned to view failure as a learning process since she was young. Every night during dinner, their father would ask them what they had failed at during the day. As a result, they learned that failure results from one attempt and not an entire outcome. At the age of 29, Blakey decided to shift her career from selling office equipment which she had done for seven years, to creating Spanx, an American Underwear company. The specialization to women’s hosiery propelled Blakey to becoming one of the few American women billionaires who had built their empires without the help of their husbands or inheritance.
According to Sarah Lewis, the success of Blakey’s empire rested on the Dunning-Kruger effect. Psychologists define it as the instance where amateurs are willing and likely to take risks due to their ignorance. The ignorance protects them from any fears they may have of failing. On the contrary, experienced and successful professionals often see the possible obstacles and hindrances that steer them towards safety instead of innovation.
Many people have emerged victorious because of taking risks. Others, through trial and error. Adversity is one of nature’s skilled teachers, which helps to sieve different people through ordeals and experiences. There are several lessons on overcoming adversity from the book. I might only truly become my entire self if I explored and stayed open to moving through daunting terrain (Lewis, pg.8). According to Lewis, learning is non-linear, so we should keep on learning and pushing until we get a breakthrough.
She believes that we maneuver through criticism by taking figurative breaks to risk. She defines grit as thick skin, which we develop on the verge of adversity. People who choose to wear grit are more likely to succeed and emerge victoriously. Every artist has the potential to be creative and innovative. Additionally, everyone is created with the ability to become diverse, and hence, Lewis educates us on the importance of being open-minded and not conforming to one direction. We should be ready to discover ideas that will keep us motivated when our colleagues give up.
The book describes the gap as the spacing between one’s achievement and the potential to become more. During the gap phase, we should be able to separate the mind from its critics. Through that, we are able to gather the courage required for risk-taking. A good example from the book is August Wilson, a writer who wrote on restaurant napkins. When asked why he was doing that, he exclaimed, “because it doesn’t count.” According to him, the ability to write on something disposable such as a napkin gave him creativity as he was never afraid of the content.
He fought the fear by determining the best method for coping. He always considered writing a very strict endure that allowed no room for mistakes. However, a napkin could be easily destroyed, and thus, he could explore all options and ideas. That is common in every person’s life. The fear of making mistakes creates bounds and limits that are non-existent. Wilson had the freedom of exploration and crumpling with a napkin. He could not judge himself as the material was non-existent.
Even though Lewis largely supports isolation for artists, she still believes that it must come to an end to prevent one from losing touch with reality. A space haven is a priority for unleashing creativity, but it can also become risky. Lewis gives an example of Pontormo, a Florentine painter who spent eleven years on a portrait during the sixteenth century. However, neither the painter nor the painting survived the ordeal. Another theme discussed in the book is the value of criticism. It plays an essential role in promoting creativity in art.
Criticism and isolation have to go hand in hand. What prevented Pontormo from succeeding was the inability to incorporate pressure and criticism. Lewis provides an example of working under pressure using the saying by Leonard Bernstein, a composer: “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time” (Pg. 55). As the artist tries to manage with limited time, they are likely going to experience burnout in the beginning. All artists have to manage the gap period effectively by taking care of their actual work and their vision. Often, it becomes challenging balancing the vision and the means of achievement. To cope better, we should work to provide quality work which will put other things into place.
Most artists and writers who achieve great success are those with moderate talent. They dedicate almost their entire lives to perfecting their work and skills. Each day is used to make a difference. An innovative endeavor is likely to leave the owner open to criticism. In this line of work, it is almost impossible to please everyone, especially those who have a traditional way of doing things. Grit assesses the criticism, validity and incorporates the relevant changes in the coming future.
Samuel Morse is a painter who spent most of his life stretching the canvases in readiness for painting. Even though he never became successful in art, he gained enough knowledge to transform stretcher bars into telegraph machines. He faced several critics during his work at the paint shop for more than twenty years. He turned them to his advantage and changed the various aspects that people complained about. He reframed all the objects he was working with, leading to a creation that the world had never seen. Grit balance is maintained through environmental factors and internal strength. We have to practice grit and embrace it to succeed in whatever we pursue.
Oliver Sacks was an author and neurologist who had stayed for long without writing anything. He became desperate, which led him to make an ultimatum; to commit suicide if he had not completed the book in ten days. By the ninth day, Sacks had completed his book. It is evident from various instances in the book that we all require pressure and a significant level of criticism to function effectively. Near wins can also have profound effects on how we perceive ourselves and success. They lead us to obsess over the expected outcomes. Lewis argues that the extent of the failure determines our drive and motivation. Thus, when we have been defeated extensively, we feel obligated to work harder and compensate for the efforts that lacked earlier.
The near-win of Jackie Joyner-Kersee in the 1984 Olympics, led her to setting a world record in the 1988 Olympics, which has never been broken. Not only does the near win motivate us, but it also changes our perspectives and directs our attention towards the struggle experienced in the success process and not the outcome. Triathlete Julie Moss is one of the best examples of changed perspectives as a result of a near win. She was the leading athlete in the 1982 Ironman race with a six-minute lead. However, she collapsed during the final half-mile. She could not stand up nor control her limbs. Surprisingly, she chose to ignore the pain and crawl past the finish line.
The Rise is a great book that has encouraged millions out there. Sarah Lewis provides a different perspective and approach towards failure and mastery. Not only does the book encourage artists and athletes, but people of other professions as well. Most people have chosen to assume failure, but Lewis encourages everyone to embrace and confront it. It is a valuable learning experience that should never be ignored. Thus, success is anchored on our ability to transform our setbacks into motivation.
Lewis, Sarah. The rise: Creativity, the gift of failure, and the search for mastery. Simon and Schuster, 2014.