I read somewhere long ago that you can put people into one of four groups, although for most people it overlaps but still most of us have one major group, and they are people who,
- Run towards what they want
- Run away from what they don’t want
- Run along with the herd
- Run into and against the herd
When it comes to making mistakes, I’ve always been in he second group of people. I ignore, avoid, deflect everything that I am not sure of. And it has served me well to avoid clutter, extraneous things and things I’m not good at. Why would I try to learn how to ski when I don’t like being in cold outdoors far away when I can just sit at home and improve my fairly decent chess skills, right?
The problem is, one gets used to the comfort in the comfort zone. Gee, that’s why they call it the comfort zone after all. And growth lies only outside what’s familiar, what’s comfortable and what’s known. But nothing stunts growth more than constantly trying to avoid making mistakes. No kid ever learned to walk without bumping into things, hurting himself and just plain falling on his face trying to get up every time.
And as far as getting comfortable with making mistake goes, I remember I worked for a teacher years ago and he said this to me one day I made a mistake,
“So, you goofed up! What you did was wrong and you know that now, right? I won’t scold you for it. I don’t mind when my people make mistakes. Just remember this– when you realise you’ve made a mistake, contemplate, reflect on it and learn from it. You know there a gazillion different things you can do wrong everyday? Just once you’ve made a mistake, don’t repeat it again or else I’ll kick your butt. Make a new mistake everyday. Don’t ever repeat them.”
It has stayed with me all these years somewhere in the background of my consciousness. Perhaps, it’s time to bring it forward and this post is an attempt to do that. That, and to express my gratitude for that lesson.