Some posts ago I wrote about being calm and stable in relation to work and learning to embrace failures, mistakes, fuck-ups, and other unwanted, negative occurrences in my job. Today, I had the perfect opportunity to observe this point in action. I do not need to give more context than the fact that I made a BIG MISTAKE at work – and people got upset, worried and nervous – yet – still – even though my world was seemingly shaky – deep inside of myself I experienced a calm.
Where did this calm come from? It came from knowing and understanding how reality operates, that in learning a new trade, there will be mistakes, and in walking day-to-day living, there will be unforeseen and unwanted outflows – they can be minimized through practice, presence, thoughtfulness, and discipline – but they cannot be removed – as long as we live in a physical reality with a myriad of dimensions, most of them unknown to us, moving and interacting at the same time, things will happen that we cannot control and today, such a point manifested.
Instead of going into a reaction, instead of judging myself, instead of becoming worried, fearful, and nervous, I took a breath, and I looked at the point objectively – and what I have seen to be so important when it comes to living calm is the skill of retaining perspective on things. And with perspective I mean the following: It is so easy to exaggerate and blow things out of proportion – we make a mistake and we feel awful about it – though in the grand scheme of things – it is only one bad day that eventually will become but a memory – that we might even laugh at and enjoy later on – because WOW what a fucking mistake we made!
I find that old people are generally better at approaching mistakes with light heart, probably because they have seen so much shit, walked through so many mistakes, and experienced so many negative occurrences, that they are just used to it; hence – they have perspective on things. I am however still young, so I have not accumulated that amount of experience, but it does not stop me from creating perspective in me when things go wrong. The solution I apply is that I ask myself: How bad will this look in fifty years? And the answer I get is that – I will probably be dead at that time or at least – not remember ANYTHING of what happened. Thus, fretting and worrying over mistakes is a WASTE OF MY TIME.
Though, that being said, mistakes are also a gold mine, because for each mistake, there is something that can be learned. For example, a couple of days ago I made the mistake of forgetting a task that I had committed to take on. Instead of becoming worried about it, I asked myself: What can I learn from this? And I saw that when it came to remembering duties, and directing responsibilities, an effective rule of thumb is to either act immediately and get it done when the point is here, or immediately take a physical note, and make sure that I get back to the point later on. Applying this rule of thumb I can avoid having to face a future moment where I again forget something, and thus, I can create a positive physical outflow for myself, that will become more than a memory, but actually a gift in my life, and something that will assist and support me to expand.
To summarize: Mistakes will happen and usually we exaggerate and overreact – AND – mistakes can be used as LEARNING POINTS – and as a motivation to push ourselves to expand – consider more dimensions – develop skills and abilities – and become more effective at what we do.
Hence, when a mistake enters into our world – what we should say is: Cool! A mistake! Let me see what I can learn here!
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