Tag Archives: Life lessons

Making Mistakes

I made a mistake a couple of weekends ago. Actually I made several mistakes, but this one involved someone who has been rather toxic in my life. The demeaning response and consequent attempt to take advantage of the situation lifted the floodgate of emotions related to a situation I’ve been working to overcome.

Mistakes are a funny thing. No one wants to make them, but they are often the gateway to experience, learning and growth. How many times have we been told about the number of failures Edison had before he invented the light bulb? Or how many shots Michael Jordan missed? The learning is in the journey and the journey is filled with bumps, pit stops and distractions.

I remember a discussion in Sunday School a couple of years ago about mistakes, where the instructor said mistakes aren’t bad. I don’t think I can describe the shock that reverberated through my body as I thought of the consequences I faced for past mistakes. That was the first time I realized that maybe my perception of mistakes were off kilter. Actually, that was at the beginning of my discovery that maybe many of my perceptions were off kilter, but that’s another blog post.

I let the reactions to my alleged mistakes by someone close to me feed my insecurity in my decision making ability. I was often paralyzed and unable to decide anything for fear of making a mistake. I walked on eggshells, fearing I would unwittingly make a mistake in this person’s eyes – which happened frequently. I don’t want to focus on my relationship, but a little about how others react to our mistakes. For me, I developed a fear of not only failure but also a fear of making decisions.Candy Corn Cookies

Mistakes show we are trying. If we’re not making mistakes, are we really living? When I struggle with a decision, I remind myself that if I choose the wrong option then I’ll pick myself up and move on. Often, a choice is just a choice with no right or wrong answer. Like the time I made cookies with candy corn instead of chocolate chips. They tasted fine, but they were messy and ugly. Lesson learned.

Other times mistakes can lead to pain, and that’s OK too. Life is meant to have good days and bad days. It’s very hard to appreciate the good, without the not so good. For me a painful day is still better than those days I was numb, blocking out how unhappy I had become with my stagnate life.

It’s so good to feel again, regardless of the emotion; although I do prefer the positive emotions. This year I’m focusing on rediscovering what makes me happy. I’m bound to stumble on some unsuccessful attempts. And I’m sad to say I’ll make a few more mistakes and some of them might sting a bit. Hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll be more in tune to what makes me tick with no visible scars from the mistake or two (or 90) I make along the way.

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Look at the Sky: 8 Lessons from George Durrant

Early in my marriage, we listened to talks from LDS speakers on cassette tapes. (Anyone else remember those?)  One of our favorite speakers was George Durrant. I especially loved the one called “Look to the Sky” where he Watercolor tree for Art Campshared an experience he had in an art class. He had to present his painting to the class for critique.

The first person who spoke up was a young woman, “I like how George painted the sky.” A wave of relief washed over George and he looked at the sky and agreed with his classmate, it was good.

Then a second person said, “Yeah, but the foreground is all messed up.”

With his typical humor, George thought, “Why can’t you just look at the sky.”

There are so many lessons in this short little story!

  1. We all have our skies – the things we are good at.
  2. We all have our foregrounds – things where we have room for improvement.
  3. There will be people who notice what we do right.
  4. There will be people who point out what, when and where we messed up. These voices always seem the loudest to me.
  5. We need to surround ourselves with good friends, those who encourage us.
  6. George was in a class, striving to improve. We need to be constantly learning and improving.
  7. Listen to the voices and access if there is any merit in their statements. Our critics can have lessons to teach, and our cheerleaders sometimes have their own motives.
  8. The trick is to balance our focus on the areas we excel, while continuing to work on the areas that need improvement.

It’s interesting how some of the most powerful lessons come from seemingly small experiences. So where are you looking today?

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