Making Mistakes

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 a great quote to begin the New Year with. This idea that mistakes mean progress, an attempt to live life to its fullest. Love it!

I used to stay fettered in fear, because of the possibility of making a mistake. Making a mistake meant that I didn’t know what I was doing, and I couldn’t let anyone know that I didn’t know what I was doing, even if I had never done what I was doing before.

I demanded perfection from myself in all manner of ways, which left me isolated in a small box. This small box consisted of limited ideas and thoughts, because to think outside this box meant taking a chance. In turn, taking a chance meant making potential mistakes and that just seemed unacceptable.

I heard once, and I don’t remember where, but something like “mistakes are only mistakes if I don’t learn from them.” From that point on, whenever I’d make a mistake, I’d recite this little quip and feel better about making the mistake as long as I learned something from it.

Now, I don’t want to use this “making mistakes” business as a way to slough off my responsibilities or not pay attention or not challenge myself to do better. No, not at all. That would mean the opposite of what this quote alludes to.

What’s important for me to know is, mistakes are part of living this life. Making mistakes implies participation, which then implies the possibility of being seen.

I must be okay with “being seen” in this business of growing and changing and trying to become who I want to be. And the truth is, mistakes are a “when” not an “if”. This recognition allows me to move into doing instead of staying stuck in not trying.

I have to say, I periodically get lost in faulty-thinking that tells me that I need to hide myself from the world, that I need to not be seen by another just in case they see someone they don’t like.

Those feelings and thoughts rumbled my mind this morning, primarily with my writing, as always. I chose to stay with this idea of “[…] in this year to come, you make mistakes.”

I don’t know if I’ve made a mistake or not, but sometimes the feeling of having made a mistake is prevalent without an evidential mistake to back it up; hence, feeling like a mistake was made and making a mistake are not always concurrent.

So, I’m going to stay with the idea that “[y]ou’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” I don’t need to know the outcome of what I’m doing or even where I’m necessarily going, but it is important that I keep showing up and living my life where I am today.

What mistakes have you made?

What new things are you trying or are willing to try?

Lead Image Source: dingler1109/Flickr (CC)

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