Welcome again, to my new Just One Thing series. Each week, I offer you just one thing you can practice each day that will improve your creative output.
Today’s JOT practice: Embrace your mistakes.
Yep. You read it right. I am asking you to celebrate your errors, to dig into the places where someone has told you that you’ve done it wrong.
It’s a lot to ask, isn’t it?
Here’s the thing: If we can revel in our mistakes instead of recoil from them, if we can dig into them, and ask ourselves, what might be true about this, they have a positive value!
We all know there is a whole lot of shaming in the ways that discovery of mistakes are delivered in the academy. Lots of people seem to enjoy belittling people. And because of that, it’s easy to get sidetracked in reacting to the WAY the message is delivered.
What if we could stipulate that the messenger is an asshole, AND acknowledge that we did, in fact, get something wrong?
We all screw up. We make small mistakes. We make big mistakes. And it’s not uncommon to feel a bit of embarrassment.
It’s right there that you can stop and face the error. Any place that you feel a compulsion to perfectionism, take a deep breath. Look it square in the eye and tell the truth: “It wasn’t perfect. It was never going t0 be perfect. But, what can I learn from it?”
There’s such a tremendous value in mistakes, so much to be learned.
First, you’ll discover things you missed. Ideas you hadn’t considered. That’s the point of idea exchange, right.
Next, you will get more resilient. Make a mistake, face it, survive it and realize it’s not the end of the world. Each time you do it, you become more resilient to feedback.
So just for today, embrace your mistakes. Pull them close, pull them apart. When a mistake shows up, sit with it, look at it. Turn it over and over, not is self-criticism but in curiosity. What is there to learn here? What can I take away from this? How will I get stronger and better by allowing myself to make a mistake and learn from it?
One last thing: Go ahead and look for the old mistakes that you dragging around shame about. Look at them directly and take note of how much more you know now, everything you learned. It’s training for when you are inclined to unleash the misery that you usually subject yourself to about a mistake. Re-examining the experience as valuable can be offer evidence that you grew and survived and you can do it again!