It’s not that it isn’t an option . . . IT just isn’t a thing.

Conventional wisdom for those trying to achieve anything worth achieving is to be prepared to fail, and fail often.

You’ll hear stories of epic fails from Edison before he lit that light bulb.

Or how many times the Wright brothers failed before they flew.

And certainly so many of the greatest Producers, Writers and Artists of all kinds in our industry “failed” constantly throughout their careers.  (Side note: One of my favorite things to do when a project doesn’t go my way is to the “resumes” of some of my heroes, just to see the many misses that they had before they had a hit.)

Or did all of these folks fail at all?

You see, I’ve adopted a new philosophy about failure.

It doesn’t exist.  It’s an impossibility.  It just doesn’t happen.


Don’t worry, I’m not about to preach some Millenial-child-raising-strategy where there are no losers and everyone gets a trophy.

What I do know is that in every single thing I’ve done that has “failed,” by the conventional definition, something good has always come out of it.

I’ve either forged a new relationship with an artist that I didn’t have before, or I learned a new type of marketing that will come in handy on the next show, or I improved as a writer, just by having written something over and over, etc.

But there is always some success in every single endeavor.

The project may not turn out exactly how I hoped and prayed it would, whether monetarily or critically or both, but there’s always some gold to mine somewhere.  There is always some positive takeaway.

And if there is even one thing that you learn from any project, then how can it be a failure?

The answer, of course, is that it’s other people that toss that word around, who are sometimes eager to keep other people down, to prop themselves up.  Don’t listen to them.  And if it’s you saying it to yourself, it’s just your own fear trying to keep yourself down.  Don’t listen to you.

You know why failure isn’t an option?  Because it doesn’t exist.

The only question on every project you undertake is the degree to which you’ll succeed.

So today . . . that’s right, TODAY, pick up that play, screenplay, phone, or whatever your entrepreneurial tool of choice is with this attitude, and I bet you’ll get a lot more accomplished.

– – – – – –

People are saying some good stuff about my new book, How to Succeed in the Arts . . . or in Anything.  Just look:

“A new must have book – for anyone with a dream!” – Elise Gainer

“Read it twice . . . so far!” – Ed Ballou

“A must read and a quick read for Playwrights/Producers!” – Ginger Reiter

Read more reviews and get it on right here.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.