The New Failure

I’ve never had much of a green thumb, but I come from a stable of accomplished gardeners — on both sides. I guess eventually it just catches you. I finally caught the gardening bug at our first house about 10 years ago.

The house was a traditional, tiny downtown starter home owned at one point by someone who was quite a gardener. In the time between her and when John purchased the home, the yard and plantings overgrew. Beneath all the tangles and years of neglect, all that beauty was still there, waiting to be rediscovered.

Area by area, we hacked out the clingy vines and cut the wild weedy trees. We pulled out years of thick English ivy. One by one I learned what lived there and how it needed to be cared for. By the time we moved a few years later, I handed the new owner a thick manual of plant placement diagrams, pruning instructions and details of improvements we’d made. It was no Biltmore Estate by any means, but I think we managed to recapture some of the yard’s original beauty. While the new homeowner managed to destroy most of that work within a year, my green education stuck.

My green thumb had finally taken root.

Three years ago, I decided to graduate from a mildly successful jalapeno plant grower to a full-blown raised bed gardener. My neighbor, who is an accomplished gardener, cheered me through all my fears and insecurities and shared more know-how than a pile of books. I still remember the excitement of seeing tiny starts of romaine lettuce and thinking ‘I could grow lettuce at home!’ I wasn’t thinking at all about the superior taste of homegrown veggies nor was I thinking I’d get much more than a salad or two. I ended up getting weeks and weeks of crisp lettuce that made store-bought lettuce taste like sawdust. So now I am completely spoiled.

My first garden did fine for a complete amateur. My second spring garden did much better, which led to a summer and winter garden that year, too. Now in my third year of gardening, it’s safe to say I am always growing something.

All my life I’d thought my parents had some classical training. How were they able to amble through a yard and identify almost everything? How did they know where to cut, when to plant and if something was dead or dormant?

It turns out, there’s no big secret to cultivating a yard or a garden. You just stick your hands in the dirt and give it your best shot.

I think we’ve been afraid to do things ourselves for too long. What if I fail? What if it doesn’t work? I don’t know how to do that. But these days, fear is giving way to something better, something brighter.

Consumers of the new economy have a rekindled sense of DIY. They are seekers, and learners. They collaborate, cultivate and share. It may be something as simple as learning to garden or joining forces with a friend to form a new company. There’s an exciting fearlessness that’s refreshing after the drought of a recession.

Consider the explosive growth of the digital scrapbooking site, Pinterest. While primarily used by young women, it’s growing by never-before seen leaps and bounds. It’s even managed to sneak its way up in usage right behind Tumblr and Facebook.

The new reality is that nothing is out of reach in the minds of today’s consumers. Trying and faltering is no longer a failure. It’s how we learn.

Being afraid to try is the new failure.

This entry was written by Julie Turner, posted on May 3, 2012 at 7:00 am, filed under Consumer Behavior, R-blog, Social Consciousness, Trend: DIYism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

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