Make Better Mistakes

806. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I heard this phrase today and loved it: Make better mistakes tomorrow. The idea, of course, is that growth and learning come from making mistakes. There really is no such thing as “right,” just as there is no single answer to any question. There is “better.” There is “improvement.” There is growth and learning and mastery. Words like “right” or “expert” or “perfect” imply an end. They ignore context. They presuppose a single solution. The only moment you get it “right” is the moment you die. And, I hope the moment after you die there’s a voice just behind you that whispers, “Wasn’t that a hell of a good ride?” And, an appropriate response is, “So, what do you want to do now?” You might also scream, “Where am I?” but I am a firm believer that the question you ask determines the possibilities that you see so better to ask an open ended question. Everything is a process.

The ‘Long Body” is a term found in some Native American traditions. It refers to the many forms your body will take between birth and death. At what precise moment did your body transition from infant to adolescent? You can identify a date and a time but they are arbitrary. Your body is always in motion, always in process, always changing and transforming. I once had a conversation with someone who poo-pooed the word “transformation.” They said they’d never seen anything transform. I asked them if they’d ever looked in a mirror but that tactic got me nowhere. Transformation happens every moment of every day. It is the most common of experiences and the most miraculous when we see it. Look at the weather. Find a field and watch it for a year. You can’t believe the explosion of life that happens in a simple garden. Pay attention. You are surrounded by transformation all the while you are transforming. Life is in motion. Nothing is static.

Making mistakes as a life credo will allow you to try new things. It will take the fear out of stepping into unknowns. It will facilitate motion. What’s the worse thing that can happen? You’ll make a mistake and learn something. And, if you’re really good at it, you’ll make better mistakes tomorrow than you made today. It’s worth a try.

6 Responses

  1. Great post!

  2. Ha! I just came across a quote from Amos Bronson Alcott: “Our bravest and best lessons are not learned through success but through misadventure.” (I love the ‘misadventure’ part.)

  3. I’ll on board for rowdy misadventure any day!

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