Monday, November 19, 2007

We all make mistakes, and lots of them.

Always check your work by Don Nunn

This is a truth I sometimes tend to forget. Whether because I want to be as poised and confident as my friend, or as knowledgeable and brainy as a coworker. Most of us are not born as geniuses, and we have to work hard to get ahead in life. In the process, we’re going to make mistakes.

Even now, with all I know about life, I am still afraid of looking stupid in front of someone else. I guess it’s that natural tendency to criticize ourselves more than others. We can easily laugh off the goof-ups or errors of someone else, but we re-live our own blunders over and over.

It’s important for us to remember that mistakes are part of the growing process. We learn something new from every mistake we make. We stretch our limits; learn what works and what doesn’t. I remember learning to ride a two-wheel bike for the first time. I vividly recall the scrapes and bruises I got. But because I wanted that freedom so badly, I kept going. Then when I finally became great at it, I tempted fate. I rode a bike race with one of my friends and we crashed. (Big surprise right?) I ended up in the hospital that day, but that didn’t keep me off of my bike.

As an adult many of us don’t receive the support we need when learning new things. Somewhere along the way from childhood to adulthood many of us learn that we have to be the best at all costs. The next time you are trying to learn something new and messing it up, remember the bike. If it’s something you really want to do, then keep going until you get it right – the effort will be worth it!

Another important truth to remember, is that many wonderful inventions resulted purely by accident. Where one invention fails, another is born. What a wonderful idea! Now we can be the Pee-Wee Herman’s of the world and say “I meant to do that.” Call it experimentation and exploration if you want. That’s how most of us learn best. Don’t pressure yourself to get it right the first time. Let everyone know you’re searching for a better way to do things. Who knows, you just might find it.

Above all, don’t let mistakes, blunders, or slip-ups keep you from reaching your goals. Next time you mess up look around for the nearest baby. Babies learning to walk have almost as much fun falling, as they do crawling. I’ve seen many babies that would laugh like crazy when they fell on their butt, and then they’d just get back up and try again. Have fun with your screw-ups and laugh them off. You’ll feel better, and probably learn more along the way.

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