Designer, creator of 9rules and blogger Paul Scrivens has started a lot of projects that didn't quite pan out. Scrivens discusses how letting things die is important to moving toward your next success.
I have started a lot of projects in the past and many of them either aren't standing anymore or are owned by other parties. In terms of them becoming huge and garnering me millions of dollars they all would be considered failures, but in terms of walking away and learning something I don't think I would consider any of them to be a failure. I think that everyone that reads this site has a passion for starting a pet project and I'm sure many of you have done a couple in the past, the problem seems to be that many times we just can't let go because we don't want "failures" being associated with us.
On the other end of the spectrum we have projects that we don't follow through on, but that is for another article.
Why is it really that hard to let go? For it's hard because I know what is needed to get the project to where I would be happy with it and all I need to do is go on and do that stuff. However, I find something else to do, but tell myself that I can still make the project a success. If I really wanted to make it a success then I would have stuck with it. There is a huge difference between wanting something and wanting something. Just because you tell yourself you want it doesn't prove anything. Just like relationships, it's your actions that need to do the talking.
With a success-to-failure ratio like the one I have why even bother starting these pet projects? It's that whole "if you have an itch, scratch it" kind of thing. My life is about learning and I can't learn by simply reading and sitting around. I have to learn by doing and that is what every one of these projects does for me. They teach me new things that I would never have gained by just reading someone else's observations. It's not like starting another blog or simple website is going to put me in financial ruin so there really is nothing holding me back.
You may think that your failures become part of your reputation however and if you want to start future projects with partners people may be a bit hesitant to join up with you due to what they know about your past. In this case, hopefully you do have successes on your record that stand head and shoulders above any failures you may have endured.
To move forward eventually you have to let certain projects die. If you don't have the time or resources to get around to them letting them die frees up not only your time, but your thoughts for future projects. There is nothing worse than trying to work on a project and you have the nagging voice in your head telling you that your former project needs some maintenance. How many projects are started in this community with a flourish and then slowly die to the point where they get maybe an update a month. There is no point in that, just let it die.
At least you gave it a shot. Move on and give the next project a try because you know that is the one that is going to succeed.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
Letting Things Die [Drawar]