I think when I have kids (if I have kids and not just countless cats…) then I’m going to drill into them that perfectionism is the greatest lie on earth. I’m going to tell them that there is no way to be ‘perfect’ in life and they shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes.
When I was in high school, my mum never had to tell me to study, she actually tried to get me to not study (bitch tried to tempt me with Harry Potter films). I would stay up till the wee hours of the morning doing school work to make sure I’d ace whatever test/SAC/exam I had. I didn’t need motivation from anyone or anything else, I had plenty of motivation that lay in:
-Not wanting to fail my test/SAC/exam
-Not wanting to make my teachers feel like they’d done a bad job teaching me (not even kidding with this one)
-My ever-fuelling fear of making a mistake
I never stopped to think about this when I was at school because I was so scared of ‘failing.’ I’ve noticed this ended up being a trend in my life as well, where I basically pick my life moves based on avoiding anything that could even slightly be interpreted as a mistake. Well, after writing this post on fear I am well and truly getting over that.
A lot of us are brought up believing that mistakes are bad and should be avoided at all costs. You weren’t praised if you made a mistake doing something and a mistake was certainly not seen as a good thing.You’re supposed to learn from your mistakes and move on, sure, but if you can not make them in the first place then that’s even better.
Except, maybe we’re not thinking of mistakes the right way?
In acting, when you film a ‘Take’ you perform to the best of your ability and then if you muddle up the words or something like that happens then they’ll call ‘Take 2’ and you try it again. It’s a second go at things if you will, how revolutionary. (<-Sidenote: all I see is Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada with that line).
The word ‘mistake’ traditionally implies that you’ve done something wrong or that you’ve made some kind of error, right? Now I may be reading into this too much but…why can’t we all just see mistakes as ‘mis-Takes.’ ‘Takes’ in life rather than in acting, that we’re re-doing. Nothing to feel bad about, certainly nothing to avoid, nothing to feel ashamed or guilty or sorry for, you’re just re-doing your take in whatever situation and that’s that. So if you didn’t do your best in an interview for a new job and you lost the job, rather than beating yourself up over the massive mistake you made, go for another take. Apply to another interview and go from there. Most importantly, don’t feel bad, and don’t dwell.
If everyone has already been thinking of ‘mistakes’ like this well then I’m going to feel real damn stupid. I mean when I first started thinking of mistakes as ‘mis-takes’, it felt like I had a massive eureka moment. Why have I been trying to get everything right on Take 1 when in life, there’s no limit to how many times I can try something before I succeed? It’s like I think if I don’t get something ‘right’ on the first try then that something must not be in the cards for me.
As long as what you’re doing isn’t…you know, murdering someone, then I think we should all be encouraged to make mistakes. Treat them like separate ‘takes’ and that’s it, not like something you’ve done wrong.
So here’s to mistakes, may we make them, may we learn from them, and may we stop treating them like they’re so bad.