Sometimes we’re so afraid to make a fool of ourselves that we don’t even try. Or we make a halfhearted attempt – as if doing something half-hardheartedly with an ‘I-don’t-really-care-that-much’-attitude will make our failures less frequent and more bearable somehow.
Sometimes we’re so afraid to fail that we give up before we even start, because we fear we’ve got so much to lose. But the truth is – we’ve got so much to gain. It’s our willingness to fail that is a prerequisite for living life to the fullest. It’s our willingness to fail today that makes us thrive tomorrow. Here’s 5 ways to thrive tomorrow thanks to the mistakes you are willing to make today:
1. Mistakes and failures are great sources of indispensable feedback.
They’re just things that went different than expected. They show us what didn’t work and invite us to come up with another strategy, idea or plan. They’re not a measure of our worth – even though that’s what we often make them out to be, feeling deflated, small and insecure. But the truth is – those mistakes and failures are not personal. They’re not the final truth about us. They’re just proof that we actually did something, that we took action, that we gave it a go. And we deserve a pat on the back for doing just that.
2. Mistakes and failures are opportunities to shine.
They’re an opportunity to show what we’re made of. They allow us to decide who we want to be – even when things are tough and we would rather curl up in a ball and hide from the world. They allow us to deliberately own our mistakes – instead of sweeping them under the carpet. They’re an opportunity to be an inspiring example of creativity and resourcefulness, of non-judgmental strength and open-mindedness. They’re an invitation to live with style, class and integrity.
3. Mistakes and failures are the birthplace of fresh ideas.
They allow us to make our work better, our ideas stronger. They help us detect what part of our plan we need to work on; they help us figure out what support we need to ask for. They help us crystallize our intention and refine our ideas. Or they could be the spark for a new didn’t-see-this-coming change of plans altogether – one we could never have come up with when just brainstorming and thinking without the actual doing.
4. Mistakes and failures are invitations to reconnect with ourselves.
They’re an invitation to take a moment and take a look at what we set out to do and why we were doing it in the first place. They’re an invitation to distinguish our genuine wants and dreams from the shoulds and have tos. They’re an invitation to refocus on what we truly want to do and change direction when we find ourselves off track of who we truly are.
5. Mistakes and failures are powerful confidence boosters.
They’re the living proof that we’ve got what it takes – after all, we’ve handled so many mistakes and failures in the past and we’re still here, despite the hurt, shame and discomfort that each mistake and failure brought along. They’re living proof that we’re so much more than we give ourselves credit for. We’ve handled our mistakes and failures before – and we can do so again. I love this quote from J.K. Rowling that sums it up so nicely:
It is impossible to live without failing at something,
unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all,
in which case you have failed by default.
Actually, not being willing to fail or to make a mistake, that would be foolish, wouldn’t it?
Featured photo credit: thephotograpymuse via flickr.com