I’m not quick to admit this, but I actually make mistakes all the time. Blame it on poor judgment, clumsiness, exhaustion, whatever. And, I’m not really sure if this a perfectionist thing or just a human thing, but I’m also very aware of these mistakes, which, I think, is far worse than making the mistakes in the first place.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I erred at work and realized it three days too late to do anything about it. I remember, it was a Thursday morning when it hit me. So for all of Thursday, most of Friday, and even some of the weekend, I could not get this blunder off of my mind. And worse, the mess up was trivial – not killing or affecting anything serious at all. Yet, still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had completely ruined everything.
Now, I’m not always this way. When I’m being conscious of my unreasonable behavior and actively doing those things I need to do to combat it, mistakes don’t get to me as much. In my logical mind, I know that mistakes happen everyday, and that we’re only human, and that it’ll be ok.
But when I’m at the height of my perfectionism, and I’m on a pretty good streak of doing things well, I tend to get a feeling of invincibility. In my not-so-logical mind, I’m absolutely sure I could keep this up forever. But, since that’s clearly impossible, the scene is set for bad things to happen.
So for any little thing, I just over-apologize. I say sorry when I don’t know how to use formulas in Excel. I say sorry when I ask people questions. I say sorry when I’m slow to make a decision. I even say sorry when my dog makes mistakes, and he’s just a puppy! I perceive these apologies as my way of softening the blow of my incompetence. But why is there even a blow to soften? This isn’t incompetence – it’s life.
I think that when you expect perfection, you expect it in all things, and especially in yourself. So much so, that the bad stuff gets all of your attention. After I made that aforementioned mistake, I couldn’t remember a single thing I did well that week. Still, to this day, I’m struggling to recall a success. And you know why? Because my mind state completely switched. There no longer was any good that mattered, just mishaps and self-blame. What a horrible feeling!
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We have to learn to embrace our mistakes as no big deal. And this doesn’t mean that we should make excuses for our mistakes. It simply means we should accept them and keep striving for our best. We – and I’m speaking to myself here too – could benefit tremendously from shaking things off and simply moving on.
If the world didn’t end with your mistake or someone else’s mistake, then that means there’s still a chance to get it right the next time. Shoot for progress, not perfection.
So what do you think? Are we all far too aware of mistakes? Do we let perfection dictate or views of ourselves and the world? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading.