Like many others, I really like The Happiness Project, written by Gretchen Rubin. The author came up with her own “Twelve Commandments.” Her principles are very positive and encouraging, such as “let it go… enjoy the process… lighten up… there is only love…” (p. 11). Rubin’s blog readers also came up with their own Twelve Commandments, such as “spread the joy… stop the venting and complaining… give thanks: for the ordinary and extraordinary” (p. 181).
Interestingly, one of Rubin’s blog readers said, “Make mistakes” (p. 181). That caught my eye. That made me pause and read that sentence again. That made me think, “Wow! How amazing that person is! How courageous that person is! How much wisdom that person has!” Make mistakes. As one of his or her Twelve Commandments. I don’t know about you, but I never liked mistakes. They made me feel uncomfortable; they made me feel embarrassed, and they made me criticize myself. If possible, I would avoid mistakes. But mistakes are part of life. Mistakes mean that you are outside of your comfort zone. They reflect bravery, passion, curiosity, and adventure. So mistakes actually deserve applause. Mistakes must happen because mistakes help us learn and improve. Mistakes give us insights about our direction, or our next step. Mistakes are essential. Mistakes foster growth. Mistakes help us learn about ourselves, teach us moral lessons, and transform us. While they may bring discomfort, they are actually one of the ingredients needed for success, destination, or morality.
It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. (Theodore Roosevelt)
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. (Oliver Goldsmith)
A book that I would highly recommend to all perfectionists, all artists, and all people, literally, is Failed It! by Erik Kessels. The author talked about the beauty of mistakes and failure, and how they are just the beginning of successes. Kessels (2016) also talked about confidence being overrated! I agree with him. But from my perspective, I believe that confidence is needed and healthy, in life, in relationships, or at work. Confidence can even enhance one’s beauty! So I think the key is to remain humble. It is humility that helps people learn, improve, transform, and grow. It is humility that stops people from looking down on others or becoming arrogant. It is humility that drives people to help, support, encourage, and serve others wholeheartedly.
I like how Kessels (2016) illustrated his points with very impressive images. Go ahead and over- or under- expose your photographs! Make them grainy! Or make them blurry! Just do it the way you like your photograph to be! I admire how he gets to the point right away, without having to use lengthy debates. Read his book! Read it and reflect. See how you can apply his ideas to your own life. See your mistakes through a different lens. I am starting to love my own mistakes!
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default. (J.K. Rowling)
Don’t fear failure… in great attempts it is glorious even to fail. (Bruce Lee)
Don’t give up after making mistakes! Don’t give up after you fail! Keep going, keep learning, and keep trying your best. Keep your spirit high! One day you will appreciate every single failure you have stumbled across. You may then rename them to “blessings” or “inspirations.”
Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. (John F. Kennedy)
Affirmation: I enrich my life when I remind myself that imperfection is just the right way to be.
Kessels, E. (2016). Failed it!. London, UK: Phaidon Press.
Rubin, G. (2015). The happiness project. New York, NY: Harper.