If more people talked honestly about their failures rather than their successes we’d be able to see that we’re all in this life together.

In making that statement I do not mean to target any one person, nor was there anything in particular that really made me think it. And I also don’t mean to say that I’m perfect, or that there is any right way of behaving. Hearing about success makes us want it more and is a big motivator, and so in the right context it is wonderful to hear about. I get so excited for people when I hear about good things happening.

However, it is so easy to follow another person in your field and say, “wow, so many great things happen to that person and they probably never fail like I do.” That Β is never true. Everybody fails. Everybody has bad days. But not everybody talks about it. I am a big believer in failure. I would rather tell you about that shoot last week that went horribly wrong than to tell you all about how proud I am of myself for getting a picture published in a magazine. Why? Because it’s human.

We all fail. We all make mistakes. There are times when we find success and times when we don’t. But what success matters? That is the important distinction. I have a personal philosophy that if I don’t have to, I won’t post anything about “name-brand” successes. Sometimes there is obligation, like having to share about gallery shows. And that’s great, because it is information that people might want to know about. But sharing publicly about this award or that magazine doesn’t seem relevant, and makes me feel like I’m too focused on what my images do for my career rather than what my images do for me; which is more profound and important than anything else.

I like to share personal successes, when I’ve created an image that touched something inside of me. I share that. I shout it to the rooftops that I am doing what I love and I want with all my heart for you to do the same. My biggest hope in doing so is to encourage someone else to live the life of their dreams.

28 thoughts on “Humility

  1. Well, thrs one old famous saying … “Failure is the Pillar of Success”. But i wud say its more of a learning process ….. we do not fail to loose, no one should. We sud learn from it … and share the experience instead of hiding it. Get inputs and suggestions frm people who’ve already “been thr did tht”.

    I wanted to thank you since many days, for inspiring me and many others and kudos to your weekly “Promoting Passion”. makes me think why im not out thr, why im not creating wat i want. Seriously, you’r an inspiration. And yes, i will do wat i want to do n will create wat i feel i sud.

  2. Thought provoking as always Brooke <3 You hit the nail on the head for me with what your own images do for you… so much more valuable. Failure is just part of the journey… and often, this is where the fun happens.

  3. Well said. several months ago I quit all of the online photography groups I belonged to for this very reason. Too many ego’s; not enough humility.

    What is most disappointing is the hate so many photographers exhibit towards another’s success. I feel that on social media many are just waiting for a failure to happen so they can pounce.

    1. I hear that loud and clear Thomas – those types of things can really breed negativity and the more people who are honest about failures the less that happens.

  4. Well said….several months ago I quit all of the online photography groups I belonged to for this very reason. Too many ego’s; not enough humility.

    What I find most disappointing is the hate so many photographers exhibit for another’s success. I often feel that they are just waiting for any failure to pounce.

  5. Negative news gets more response than positive response and that makes me sad. When people post about the good things in their life it sounds like bragging and that makes me sad. I wish I could live in a happy bubble in the sky and I wish someone would come along and pop it, causing it to explode open and splash on everything around so everything would be infected with happy bubble peices.

  6. I think this is a great view point Brooke. This is a great topic and I love that you are putting it into the thinking pool. I have had a problem comparing myself. In the same aspect I never trying to make someone feel less than when telling about my successes. At times while reading friends, acquaintances or people who share similar circumstances successes I have felt inadequate. To the point I avoid all of my social media and conversations about it. Not because I am jealous or resentful, simply because it makes me somehow unhappy with myself. I go into compare and contrast mode. A vicious attack on how to get where they are. Which is totally unfair and irrelevant. I loose all concept of why I am where I am, why I am doing what I am doing. I recognized this sometime back about myself. It actually was part of my motivation create the life I want, the life I dream of. This very issue helped me define what I want. Realizing some of the things I was badgering myself for not achieving or having I never really even wanted! That is a truly freeing time πŸ™‚ Since I have changed my perspective I find myself reading others successes and feeling proud for them, overjoyed with excitement for them, not critical of myself. Part of me wants to think that entertaining people to share their successes may give them the mtivation to keep going. Feeling love from people around them may help them continue to keep climbing through their goals. To me this is a very complex topic that could be flooded with view points I am hoping to read. I definitely think of this often. Is it selfish to share successes to give yourself a pat on the back with hopes of inspiring others to pursue their goals when there is a chance someone could feel inadequate because of it? That’s a hard question. How do you weigh that out? Being sincere and thankful about your successes is I think a way to put it out there. Hopefully sharing will inspire someone not result in personal criticism. I am glad you made me think about it this morning. Thanks for the post Brooke πŸ™‚

    1. Yes definitely Andrea! Sometimes it isn’t about not wanting someone else to do well (quite the opposite) but instead about feeling like less when compared. I think that being genuinely proud and sharing that personal satisfaction is the best thing to motivate others. xoxo

  7. You’re the only person who’s been able to make me see failure as something more than what it is. I’ve started and given up on so many things because when I failed I thought, this isn’t for me. I took violin lessons and gave up, I tried painting and gave up, I even wanted to start my own business: home made protein bread (during my fitness-obsessed phase) and I gave up on that because I tried a few recipes and nothing worked.
    Photography is the one thing I haven’t given up on, and I know I ever will. I’ve only started this recently but I already have so many files of photoshoots that didn’t quite work out, and I keep them. Not only to learn from my mistakes, but also to remind myself that it’s OK to fail, as long as I keep going.
    Thank you <3

    1. I am so glad that you see your self worth and are pursuing something that you love, and I know that self-confidence will follow you in all that you do!

  8. Love this. It reminds me of a quote that resonates with me from Winston Churchill:

    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

  9. I think you’ve encouraged and inspired so many of us by just being you and sharing who you are that there really is no need for you to share the successes from your career! Most of us only know what you’ve shared in workshops, videos, your page, and blogs. I believe most of it has been from your heart and your beliefs. Yet…only with that…you have changed so many lives and so many paths. Sometimes, I think you have no idea!!!

    For example, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have created the group on fb and if that group hadn’t been created, a lot of people wouldn’t have met and become amazing friends…a lot of people wouldn’t have been noticed and recognized in other blogs/countries, etc…a lot of people wouldn’t have been inspired and challenged to create new pieces of art…some wouldn’t have gotten the help they need to make their work better…we wouldn’t teach online classes, I wouldn’t have learned as much as I have since the group started…and we wouldn’t be planning a retreat in 2015!

    I believing in exposing one’s soul to the world as long as what you say doesn’t give room from someone else to hurt your heart. And.. I think you have done that! Thank you!

  10. I agree with you.

    I never shy away from blogging about my struggles & failures.

    Yet, at the same time, I can see that some photographers who sell their works to their clients (for example: glamour photographers) can use the credibility boosts that awards & media coverages can bring …

    I’m not a professional photographer. I create made-to-order items for a living. I rely on awards & media coverages to show my potential customers that:
    – I’m a real human being (and not a made-up entity created by a scammer), and
    – They don’t need to worry about the quality of my works (because I do need them to pay me in advance)


    I just want to share my thoughts with you~

    I love your works and find your blog posts thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing your worldview with all of us.


    1. I love your thoughts Miu! And I totally understand why that can be a necessary thing – and I believe that these things should be shared in the right context xoxo

  11. When people ask me if I regret having done something wrong, I always say no. And why? For the simple reason that I cannot regret something that made me learn. In life, if I did and failed, then I learn from this failure. This way of living I also carry it for the photography. If I were afraid of my failures, I would not communicate and transmit my passion through my few works on my site or blog. I’m no professional, far from it, so far from it! But I love photography, and I still have to much to learn and so I am not afraid to show and talk about my failures. That’s why I prefer to talk about my failures than my successes. If I show my failures and someone criticize the work in order to teach me, help me improve, then is no longer a failure, is a success, because I learned and took another step. And I can talk about my failure also to teach others. So I always want to keep these thoughts, for more successes I might have. I know I’ll never stop learning, so I need to talk about my failures. And if I stop talking, I stop learning. With affection I give you my regards.

  12. I love that you posted about this! I have actually been struggling with this issue for a few days! I posted a blog about my experience with failure. I have set out to shoot and had everything go terribly wrong before, but this time was different! If you are interested, I posted about it here:
    Thanks for creating this site talking about passion rather than only success- It’s been such a resource this past week! πŸ™‚

  13. Ugh Brooke, you’re so awesome. Thank you so much for this truly important reminder. I wish so badly I could’ve gone to your gallery opening a few weeks ago, but circumstances… *sigh* Anyways, just wanted to say you’re super inspiring, and you’ve taught me to not dwell on one magazine’s rejection because the photo itself is what matters in the end. <3 So thank you!

  14. what i found interesting at after dark (and hopefully other future teaching endeavors)…is that i see more people open up about huge failures. I actually have loved over the years sharing my failures with my peers – and even today – tried an idea that may have completely BOMBED and how many times did i make the mistakes of sucky lighting….and on and on. How many times have i let my mouth slip and say something I might have regretted? a lot πŸ™‚ I just love sharing period. I think the more REAL we are about how we got where we are…the better…because let’s face it – no one wants to hear the DARKNESS and STRUGGLE of being and doing. πŸ™‚ But the more we share everything…the more we see each other in new lights. πŸ™‚ peace.

  15. Congratulations on this new site! It is my first time here as I was away from the photography world for a little while. I am happy to be back and to be here. I love to listen to what you have to say as it is always wise and uplifting. Cheers to you!

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