Why is it that we know that we can learn from mistakes, but we are so afraid to make them? A while ago I said something, so innocuous that I don’t even remember what statement I had made, but the reply to my statement was, “Oh, yeah? What if you’re wrong?” Like that was the terrible extreme that my statement may lead.
Well, I’ve been wrong before and will be wrong again. I’m human, it’s a gift. No, really. It’s a gift. Being wrong and then having the ability to learn from that mistake is a real gift! How terrible would it be if every mistake was as bad as we always think it’s going to be? We would never do anything! We would be caught in decision paralysis of ‘what if’.
I remember when we moved from San Diego to Virginia. Everyone told me all kinds of things. What if you hate it there? What if it is too cold? What if the people are mean? What if? What if? What if?
I remember distinctly that my husbands boss actually stopped me when I came to meet my husband for dinner and asked me about the move. You see, the day before my husband came home and said that there was an opportunity to move to DC, did we want to? I said, why not? That seems to be the way we’ve always moved… hmmm. Anyway, my husband’s boss took me aside and said that my husband said I was totally fine with moving within the month. Was I?
I said, “Sure, why not?
He said, “Really? You own a condo and have a kid in school. This is a big change.”
I laughed and said, “What they don’t have condos and schools in DC?”
He said, “But your friends? You’ve never even been to DC.”
“If they are no longer my friends after I move then they were never really my friends. And everything will be new when I get there, so there’s a plus.”
“So your fine with dropping everything and going.”
Again I said, “Sure why not?”
Was it a mistake? The DC area is like San Diego and Indiana and Timbuctoo, they all have their ups and downs, good points and bad, and anyone who tells you different is lying to you. The point is not whether this decision in hindsight was a mistake or not. The point is, you have to be willing to make the mistake. You have to be willing to fall flat on your face, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from it. I have been battered and bruised with so many mistake face plants, occasionally face plants on an epic scale. But with every one I’ve learned something – and sometimes unlearned a thing or two. Mistakes – it’s how we learn.
Be willing to make an epic face plant if you feel the decision is right. If nothing else, it gives you the bonus of being able to laugh at yourself after the wounds heal.
Peace be with you.