As a recovering perfectionist, I know all too well the experience of making a mistake and proceeding to mentally flagellate myself for it. I can still be merciless on occasion. It has probably been one of the biggest obstacles I have faced. And I know I’m not alone.
The crazy thing is that it is all 100 percent self-inflicted. And it’s completely counterproductive.
In light of all that, one of my favorite quotes is one from jazz great Miles Davis: “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”
What a liberating idea! What if we all lived our lives that way. Rather than berating ourselves when we made a mistake, what if we automatically shifted into roll-with-it gear? More than that, what if we automatically started looking for the gem coming out of our mistake that we can put to positive use?
Our mistakes are chock-full of gifts for us, if we’re open to receiving them. For example, that gift might be the insight we need in order to do things better the next time around. It might be the jolt we need to take us in a new, better direction. Or it could be the seed of something completely new that comes from improvising our way through the mistake.
Embracing mistakes can even lead to opportunity. The more open you are to making mistakes, the more open you are to trying new things (since new things inherently bring with them a greater potential for mistakes). And the more open you are to trying new things, the more opportunity you’ll discover that you had no idea even existed before you started taking action.
How about you? How would your life look if there were no mistakes in it?
After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As a speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work and his E-book The Occupational Adventure Guide offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker , explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.