Sure, perfection – we want it. No mistakes. Get it right. Know what to do. Look amazing.
It seems pretty unreasonable, though most of us still have it as an expectation.
Mistakes are part of being human
Just in the last hour, how many mistakes, bloopers, errors or mindless things have you done? A lot? Yeah, me too. Mistakes aren’t the problem. Not learning from mistakes – that’s the problem.
Rachel Remen, the author of the amazing book, Kitchen Table Wisdom, shares that perfection (the lack of mistakes) is the booby prize in life. When we spend so much time trying to avoid mistakes, we miss our life; we take the fun and the learning out of life. And we focus on something that we will never achieve.
Why are we so afraid of mistakes?
We have been scolded our entire lives because of our mistakes. “Pay greater attention.” “Follow directions.” “Do this, not that.” We are like cowering dogs in front of their abusive masters. We cringe and would do anything not to be wrong or get it wrong. This encourages some people to cheat on tests. Others lie and cheat in their workplace. That doesn’t mean we’re bad people – it is just that the fear of making mistakes is so significant that we will do anything to avoid it. If we fear being wrong, we won’t use the event to learn. We’ll miss out on the lesson – only to likely repeat it again and again.
So, what is your expectation of your kids? What is your expectation of yourself? Humanity or perfection?
Change how we think about mistakes
Think back to your latest mistake. To shift your mindset about mistakes, simply spend a minute and ask these questions:
- Why did it happen?
- What was the consequence – what do I need to do to make right?
- What is the lesson I’ll carry forward?
Then, add a bit of self-forgiveness and you are ready to move on.
After all, you have another great life moment arriving. Why miss it because you are still stuck in the anguish of the earlier mistake. Pay for it only once, not over and over. And notice if you make those you work or live with pay for their mistakes over and over. How is this helping them?
Making mistakes doesn’t mean you lack accountability. You are accountable for yourself and your actions. You still determine what to do to make things right because of the mistake. Then, you learn from it and moved on.
Parents, try asking your kids these 3 questions when they make a mistake. The mistakes then turn into life’s classroom, not its detention center. Then mistakes are valuable. Use what you learn to make your next moments better. This is the way to be ready for life.