Learning curves are hard to swallow. Especially for those of us who are perfectionists. I used to not do anything unless I knew I would be able to do it well on the first try, and, even then, it was hard for me to do something out of my comfort zone. Being a musician was extra tough. Trying to learn a new piece of music drove me nuts if I couldn’t learn it within the first couple of times through! Therefore I just wouldn’t take any chances. I certainly didn’t want to look like I didn’t know what I was doing. I definitely didn’t want to be seen as a fool either. If you look at the picture, though, Fizz tried several times to dig a piece of candy out of that bowl, and finally got one. Then he went back for another to see if he could do it again. It wasn’t about the candy – it was about the ability. He’d almost knock the whole thing down, look at it, reassess and try a different tactic. We had a hard time not laughing out loud (so we didn’t disturb his effort). He was hilarious, and was pretty silly looking at times, but he persisted. He’d cock his head and try a different tactic. And his efforts paid off. But we humans don’t always work like that.
How many of us choose to not try something new or step out of our comfort zones so we don’t look foolish to others? How many of us are stopped because of our fear of failure? Or is it the fear of success (if we’re honest with ourselves)? How many of us over analyze a situation to the point of exhaustion so we don’t make a ‘mistake’? Then we don’t even make a move because we took so long to analyze it and decided it took too long so to just forget it?
I lived like that for almost my entire life. Mistakes were a definite ‘no’ on my list. I didn’t want to make a mistake. I didn’t want to be seen as someone who just forged ahead and didn’t look at the consequences. I didn’t want to take chances. I wanted life to be in certainties. I wanted to know. I still do. I don’t do well with surprises. Which probably means I need more of them in my life, but that’s for a different conversation.
The trick to having to always know is that I can make 8 mistakes, fix them and be further ahead in life than if I sat there analyzing the situation over and over for 2 weeks. And I still wouldn’t really know anything new from all that analyzing. Life just doesn’t work that way. Fizz tried several different ways to get that piece of candy before he was successful. He didn’t take long before going from one tactic to the other though.
So, here it is. There are no mistakes. That’s right folks. No mistakes. Just choices. Choices have outcomes and we have to deal with those outcomes. Some of those outcomes kick us in the head, some of them send us soaring. But, as Brom said from last week, “So what if you get kicked in the head a little? You’ll recover!” Fizz kept going back and trying different ways until he got what he wanted.
How do we be okay with the choices we make when several of them in a row have outcomes not so great? It’s how we view the situation. I’ve made choices the last several years that haven’t been so great. Recently, though, I have started to ask myself the question, “What is the opportunity here?” when something doesn’t go the way I would like. There’s always a life lesson in there somewhere. There’s always something in the situation that I can learn from. Whether it’s to use a different trucking company, adjust my attitude, ask for help, add something into a contract I hadn’t thought of before, etc. The list never ends. There is always something to learn from every situation. It’s all in the perspective. It really is that easy. And, of course, to never give up on the goal at hand.
The word mistake also has a bad connotation. It has made me feel like a mistake was a bad thing. Which then feeds into my taking on the feeling that I’m a bad person if I make a mistake, because mistakes are bad. It’s a perpetuating feeling that keeps spinning and spinning and goes out of control until we’re too afraid to move for fear of making a mistake (bad). Thus we don’t take chances. We don’t let ourselves have a learning curve. We don’t take that leap of faith into the unknown. Our heart says yes, but our mind says no.
I say take that chance that your choice will make you soar instead of knock you down. The Chinese proverb from above says it well “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” Each time you have to get up you will have learned a new thing. It’s that learning curve. Readjust. Reset. New choice. New way of doing things. New perspective.
So, now that you know there are no mistakes, what choice are you willing to make today? How are you going to reach that piece of candy in the bowl above your head?