Picture a girl who's whole life pushed her to be good. Her classmates knew she was a Christian, so she had to be the perfect example of a Christian life. Her dad was a pastor, so everyone was watching him and his family. She gets good grades and never gets in trouble with the teachers.
That was me. And while I'm not saying good grades and not doing bad things is wrong, living that way hurt me in a lot of ways. I avoided all sports, which I didn't have natural talent for because I was afraid of being bad. For a long time, I didn't dare pursue my passions because what if I failed? To this day, I still have to climb my way over hurdles in my mind that tell me I'm not good enough and should just quit. Do something comfortable, something I'm already good at.
The thing is, nobody expected me to be good at everything. They didn't say, "If you don't get an A in every class, you're a failure." But somehow, that thought still got embedded in my mind, the strands of which are still hard to pull from my everyday life. When you grow up believing something so strongly, it's hard to break loose even after you learn the truth.
The lie I believed so deeply was that I couldn't make mistakes. I only felt good when I was doing something I was comfortable with. And I know I'm not alone in this. We all struggle with failing on some level or other. So here's your reminder why making mistakes can be good for you.
1. Mistakes mean you're learning.
Nobody is born knowing everything. We all learn how to lift a spoon and actually get the food into our mouths. We all spend agonizing days trying to learn how to tie our shoes. Throughout the learning process, we all make a lot of mistakes. It would be unreasonable to think we could just pick up the violin after watching a few tutorials and be able to play beautifully.
Fear can stop us from trying something new. I've missed a lot of opportunities because I didn't want to look stupid or fail at something I'd never done before. A good example of this is when my family started ice skating in the winters. I'd skate slowly around the edge of the rink, holding the railing where I could because I was terrified of falling and looking stupid. On the other hand, my brother would zoom around people, attempting crazy spins and tricks. He fell more times than anyone in the rink could count. But, while both of us started skating at the same time, he is now a much better skater than I am. Why? Because he wasn't afraid to fall. He just went for it. He probably got a few more bruises than I did, but he enjoys skating a lot more than I do.
When we let ourselves make mistakes, we can accomplish so much more and get a lot better than trying to be good at something BEFORE we even start learning.
2. Mistakes show you where you need improvement.
Everyone's favorite quote on this subject is what Thomas Edison said when he was creating the light bulb. After trying it so many times with no result, he still said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." And he kept at it until he found the right way.
What would've happened if he'd been afraid to make mistakes? Would we have any of the comforts we live with nowadays, if people didn't just go for it?
Mistakes show us what needs improvement and help us become better, stronger, smarter. So instead of viewing mistakes as failure, we should take them in stride and use them as a stepping stone to our next big idea. That small shift will make all the difference when we're trying to make a difference in the world.
3. Making mistakes helps you take yourself less seriously.
Ha! This is one I struggle with. I'm a serious person and have a hard time accepting that everything I work on is not life or death. If you're able to laugh at or with yourself when you don't get it quite right, your life will be filled with so much less stress and worry. When you realize it doesn't matter if you're perfect, when you relax and just do your best, you'll be so much of an easier person to live with. Nobody likes a person who can't take a joke and gets her feelings hurt whenever something doesn't work out the way she wants it to.
4. Mistakes make you relatable.
We're all human. We all make mistakes. Hiding them won't make people think you're great at everything. It'll just make you look like you're good at hiding things.
I used to think I had to hide all of my weaknesses because I feared what other people would think if they found out. But when I started admitting to my failures, I realized how many other people dealt with the same exact things. My stories about my shortcomings reached those who needed help and gave hope.
We just need to be honest. We're not perfect, we all make mistakes. And then we learn from them and move forward. It's the way of life. And when we're willing to admit to them, that's when other people can come and help us.
So stop living in fear. Try that next hard thing you've been too afraid to try. And remember it really isn't the end of the world if it doesn't work out the first time.
That said, my book "Perfect" will be available August 1st, in less than a week! Don't miss out!
Perfect- isn’t that something everyone wants to be? Gina has done everything she could to please her parents, gain her friends’ approval, and get that one guy’s attention, but it never seems to be enough. There’s no pleasing everybody. She’s struggling just to get through the year when a mysterious guy abruptly decides to become part of her life and disrupts everything she’s ever believed in. Could he actually be right? Is perfection really unattainable? Or by listening to him will everything she’s worked for fall apart?