During one of my classes, a few weeks ago, our professor took some time to tell us a story.
It was about how she had taken a pottery class, when she was in graduate school, as a form of relaxation, but it quickly turned stressful when she wasn’t progressing as quickly as she wanted to. Each time she failed to create a specific vase she wanted, she would get more and more frustrated.
Long story short, she couldn’t get it right because she wasn’t allowing herself to be okay with first doing it wrong.
See, we often expect ourselves to get things right within the first few attempts. We always want it to be quick and become discouraged easily if a new skill takes too long to develop.
Like a child trying to learn how to ride a bike, or a young musician learning a new instrument, we know persistence is key. Our parents, teachers or coaches always tell us this: “Practice makes perfect.”
But we still have a tendency to want to be good the moment we pick something up, the moment we start to write or to sing or to learn a new language. We want to impress the people teaching us, or someone else with our skills or even ourselves with how quickly we can become skilled at something.
We want this so badly that we often fail to realize that by not allowing ourselves to get it wrong, we are also not allowing ourselves to get it right, because learning resides amongst our mistakes, not separate from them.
To all my fellow perfectionists out there, who want to be the best at something they moment they pick it up, relax. With dedication we will get there, but do not underestimate how beneficial it can be to make a mistake.
When we answer a question wrong, we open the door to the right one.
When we date someone who is wrong for us, we learn what we truly want and deserve in a partner.
When we get in there and make that vase wrong, we learn what it means to make it right.
When we learn to enjoy the process of learning, just as much as the act of knowing, we open ourselves for more opportunities to learn.
Do not fear the process, because it can be much more beneficial than arriving at our destination.
We are constantly changing, growing and learning every day. It’s what makes this life so insanely awesome.
When we stop holding ourselves to terribly high standards and allow ourselves to be the student of this world and the people in it, we will truly come to embrace the constant change and all the wisdom it holds.
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Assistant Editor: Leah Krol/ Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: Becky Wetherington via flickr