“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” Neil Gaiman
What’s so scary about making a mistake? If success meant never making mistakes, sitting in a corner doing nothing would be a triumph. Unless we want to stagnate in the safe but limited land of “same old, same old,” we’re going to be beginners from time to time.
That means we’ll run the risk of looking foolish, inept, imperfect. So what? Our performance doesn’t determine our value as human beings. In fact, I’m a lot more comfortable around people who aren’t afraid to admit their mistakes. When they accept themselves—warts and all, they give me permission to do the same. I can let go of the pressure to be (or at least appear to be) perfect.
Years ago, intimidated by my own expectations of perfection, I almost didn’t show up for a dance class I was dying to take. Luckily, friends encouraged me and my love for dancing won out. Sure enough, the first session, when everyone else in class twirled right, I twirled left. Nobody—not even Sara, the instructor—seemed bothered by it. I was thoroughly enjoying myself and much better off in class than sitting at home, so I made up my mind not to care how I looked. I laughed and continued leaping with complete abandon as the music pulsed through my being.
Months later, following a demonstration class for potential new students, Sara told me I made the demo. Not because I was graceful. I wasn’t. Not because my dancing was flawless. It wasn’t. Sara said my enthusiasm inspired others. As I galloped around the floor, I’m sure those newbies thought, “If she can do it, anybody can do it—including me.”
Mistakes don’t have to keep us from enjoying life. Even if they bruise our egos, they can’t impact our value as human beings. In fact, our mistakes might even inspire others. What have we got to lose?
Is there some new interest you’d like to explore? Is anything holding you back? What might encourage you to give it a try?
Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.