“Anyone who has never failed has never tried anything new” – Albert Einstein
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” – Robert Kennedy
Mistakes get a bad rap in our culture, don’t you think? I mean everyone is really down on mistakes! And why is this?
Mistakes are really only a bad thing if you don’t learn from them. I think they should be looked upon a little more positively. Maybe it’s just the feeling that we associate with the word itself. It sort of makes us cringe, almost like there is an inherent pressure on us to perform even the most mundane task efficiently…”or else!”
Maybe it’s because some people keep track of our mistakes and hold them against us whenever they can. Spouses, siblings, social rivals…Heck, in baseball they call them errors and put them up in lights on the scoreboard right next to the runs and hits for crying out loud!
We’ve all experienced that condescending boss or manager who pretends to be perfect and looks down their nose at any employee who messes up. Isn’t that fun? No, of course it’s not. It’s hypocritical and it’s also unhealthy. If you are constantly working on improving yourself and you are expanding as a person, then mistakes are just part of the process. This goes for all parts of life…work and play (and baseball). Mistakes can be a terrific teacher, and should also be a gauge as to how much progress we are making toward our particular goals.
Since none of us are perfect and all-knowing beings, it would stand to reason that whenever we step out and take a risk or put in the effort to learn something new, mistakes would just come naturally. And why not? Failure is a huge part of success.
Let’s turn our attention to the world of rock and roll. If Aerosmith and the Steve Miller Band are to be believed, then not only do you have to “lose to know how to win”, but you also have to “go through hell before you get to heaven”. It seems to be a pretty consistent formula in all areas of our lives, even within the genres of sports and music, that making mistakes is just part of the deal.
But, we do have to learn from the mistakes we make in order to grow.
When it becomes dangerous and counter productive is when we stop trying and start repeating the same mistakes. Over and over. If it involves mistakes on the job, it can lead to a serious lack of productivity for sure. If it involves mistakes we make with people, then it can start to have a real negative effect on our relationships. Making mistakes without learning and growing is really missing out on living your best life.
A whole lot of people quit when they make a mistake or when they fail in any capacity at something they are trying. This is as sad as it is tragic and unnecessary. Imagine the world if everyone had always quit after they made a mistake. I can’t really comprehend the whole scene but I picture something horrifying like only having fruit cake to eat…(my apologies to the fruit cake fans out there, but to me it just seems like a mistake that someone walked away from).
Seriously though, all of the great products and inventions of mankind have come about as the final result of a whole bunch of mistakes. No one truly succeeds until they are able to power through adversity and emerge as a better person for the experience.
If we were to change our perspective only slightly, we could start to look at mistakes in a much different life and start taking some of that stress out of our lives. We would strive to make mistakes because it would mean that we were moving in new and exciting directions.
I say we should all dare to fail greatly! And in the process begin to live our lives with minds that are unlimited and spirits that are unquenchable.