This past summer GQ did an article on TV superstar Stephen Colbert. During the interview Colbert shared one of the greatest pieces of advice given to him that helped lead him to stardom.
“You have to learn to love the bomb”
This piece of advice was given to Colbert by one his old director’s when Colbert was an aspiring, struggling comedian. Colbert further explained how this one of the most important lessons he was ever taught.
But what exactly does “love the bomb” mean? It doesn’t mean “laugh at your failures” or “don’t worry, you’ll get it next time.” No it means you have to love when you are failing. You actually have to learn to love the process of completely bombing or just fucking shit up. Once you can embrace failure, fear, and the discomfort of potentially making an ass out of yourself, you can get past that fear.
Get intimate with your fears. Go in with the mindset of succeeding, but comfortable with the knowledge that shit might hit the fan. Watch as you go after something despite fear, your heart may be pumping with adrenaline, hands shaking, blurred vision, learn to love that feeling. Watch how things may slowly go to shit, feel the fear and panic as you keep pushing, and watch as your failure looks and feels like the finale of a Michael Bay film, with explosions, cars crashes, and fire everywhere. Learn to love it.
What your failures may look and feel like
“When you find a fear, that fear will either create you or destroy you. I love fear. The reason why? Because behind every fear is the person you want to be.” – Greg Plitt
Imagine that for second. Imagine what you’d try, what’d you do, and accomplish if you could love that feeling of failure, instead of fear it.
You want to chase a dream career? Good, learn to love all the failures that will get you there. You want to have James Bond like confidence and radiant social skills? Good, learn to love failed social interactions, awkward moments, and countless rejections.
Now this doesn’t mean you go out looking to fail. Don’t go into situations with the intention of completely failing and fucking things up. No, go with intentions of succeeding, but with the knowledge that if things start to go wrong, that you will fully embrace it, you accept and love the moment, you will learn from it, and not let fear stop you.
Kevin Hart learned to love the bomb. Early in his career, Hart used to fail, A LOT. He used to get booed off stage, heckled, and once even had a piece of chicken thrown at him. Imagine dealing with that shit? But he embraced it, learned to love it, accepted it, and learned from it.
Seriously, someone threw chicken at the man mid-set
Now most likely your life doesn’t involve the same sorts of failures of becoming a comedic rockstar like Colbert or Hart (sorry for the reality check), but you still face fear and failure every single day.
Life is constantly full of moments where you are confronted by fear and potentially risk failure.
The times when you are bombing and failing are the most defining moments of your life.
Character is defined by how you react to your failures, not your successes. It’s easy to love success, it’s easy to bask in the glory and high of a successful moment in life. But as you probably already know, success usually doesn’t come without failure. So learn to love that failure, know it’s a path to success and becoming the person you wish you could be. Fail. Embrace it. Accept it. Learn from it. Learn to love it. Use failure to become who you want to be.