Mistakes teach us far more than successes ever could.
When was the last time you made something cool without messing up, first?
The fact is, all innovation needs a period of destruction. That destruction involves making regular mistakes and then learning from them what works and what doesn’t.
The Trap of Society
Unfortunately for all of us, we’re rarely allowed to make mistakes in our daily lives. This is most prevalent in the workplace. I’m willing to bet that your boss encourages you to never make a single mistake in your job, holding the belief that every mistake costs the company money.
This belief couldn’t be more wrong.
There isn’t a single big idea or invention that wasn’t preceded by mountains of failure. But on that mountain, something beautiful is built. Sadly, most of us don’t get to see all the rubble that lies underneath those life-changing innovations we all too often take for granted.
Creativity & Mistakes Go Hand-In-Hand
There can be no creativity without mistakes, and no progress without failure. Failure makes most of us uncomfortable. We can experience feelings of defeat and shame.
Learning is a messy process. It involves fearlessly trying things in areas that we have zero experience, with the understanding there’s no chance that we’ll learn instantly and perfectly without some bumps along the way. We are creative human beings, not perfectly engineered machines with built in knowledge of all we ever need to know.
Honor and acknowledge these missteps as they are the stepping stones to success.
How to Avoid Shame
Shame can be a tricky beast. If left unchecked, it can consume us.
But it doesn’t have to.
We can learn to prevent shame by allowing imperfection. Imperfection in the process and imperfection in ourselves. In reality, those imperfections are just differences from the norm, they’re not inherently negative. Just because they make us uncomfortable, doesn’t mean they’re wrong.
What is wrong is attacking ourselves for trying something new and different. We need to give ourselves space to explore and discover new possibilities that we hadn’t considered before. Space to breathe through the uncomfortable parts and forgive our ignorance in the learning process.
You’re not a machine, you’re human.
Mistakes aren’t bad. They’re completely up for interpretation.
Since you now have permission to mess up, there’s no need to put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect. Hell, you don’t even have to be good starting.
You just have to get started.