J.K. Rowlings was rejected 12 times by publishers. They all thought Harry Potter wasn’t good enough. There were insufficient lifeboats on the Titanic because engineers at the time believed it was unsinkable. It took 177 years to build the tower of Pisa and 10 years for it to start leaning. Faulty construction led to the meltdown of Chernobyl. Decca Records turned down the Beatles thinking they’d never make it.
Research indicates humans make 3-6 errors per hour, and about 50 errors per day. Some tiny, like thinking we see the number 8, which is actually the number 3. Some big. Some small. Some because we didn’t know. Some because we miscalculated. There are times when mistakes are not visible right away until, maybe, when someone kindly, or not so kindly, lets us know.
Regardless of the statistics that we all make mistakes, I still find making a mistake tough, and the bigger the mistake, the harder it is for me to accept. Simply put, mistakes don’t feel very good. And the more I have invested in something, whether it’s something I spent a lot of money on or devoted time to, the more distress I feel. I don’t like to admit that I chastise myself for hours, okay days, for my mistakes.
I prefer it when I’m complimented: “Hey, I really like your class,” “I loved your book,” “Thanks for that blog, I needed that,” or “You’re looking good.”
Not so much when my mistakes are pointed out to me: “Didn’t you know you couldn’t use that title?” Or worse, laughter, “Oh, that’s such a rookie mistake. That’s going to cost you big.” Ouch.
I’ve lived long enough to know that mistakes are fertile ground for learning, compassion, humility, gaining valuable wisdom, growth, and success. Historically, mistakes have led to great things and the truth is, my life is better because of all my mistakes. But it still stings when I mess up, like with an important legal matter that caught me off guard this week, which will probably irritate me for a while.
When I asked Google, “What’s the biggest mistake we humans make?” two answers popped up: thinking we have more than enough time, and not paying attention to our health. The answers surprised me but then again, not really. It just brought home the truth that the most important things in my life are not my mistakes but enjoying the passage of time, taking good care of myself, spending time with my loved ones, and not stressing out over those things I cannot change.
“The inspiration you seek is already within you. Be quiet and listen.” Rumi
How did you find solace this week?
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