Moving Forward After a Mistake


by Lori Deschene

“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.” -James Joyce

When you were little, did you ever rip up a picture you’d worked really hard on just because you colored a little out of the lines?

Or  throw away a dish ( trial of a new recipe) which we tried hard to prepare, just because it       didn’t turn out well.

We all have perfectionist instincts because this has been a pattern in our life: start something and quit if we think we’ve messed it up.

Last week I wrote about the beauty of starting over, but as with everything in life, it’s not universally applicable. Sometimes we need to start fresh, but sometimes we need to keep going, through the messiness and imperfection. I haven’t always done this well.

When I’ve made huge mistakes with friends, I’ve wanted to hide or bail. When I’ve messed up royally with jobs, I’ve wanted to call in sick or quit.

It can feel vulnerable to be present in a situation where you feel you’re struggling or not showing yourself in the best light, but this is how we grow: by stretching ourselves through discomfort instead of shutting down.

This is how we get closer to others, closer to our dreams, and closer to the people who we want to be with. It’s how we learn about ourselves and identify areas for improvement.

Things are going to feel messy and imperfect lots of times in life. We can either resist that and run whenever things feel out of control, or lean into the mistakes and learn from every one and everything.


About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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5 Responses to Moving Forward After a Mistake

  1. Delirious says:

    I think it is hardest for me when others unjustly judge me because of what they see. I may appear in a bad light, when in reality my intentions are good.


  2. padmum says:

    Beautifully said…but that is where I think we need the capacity to let things go!!

    We can’t always be at our best..often we are out of sorts and that reflects in our interaction with others. What do you think Delirious about First Impressions?


  3. Grannymar says:

    I think it was Ralph Marston who said:-

    “There are very few guarantees in life, yet one thing is certain — if you never attempt anything, you’ll never accomplish anything. We frequently are held back by fear of failure. And failure is always a possibility. It is a certainty, however, when you never try in the first place.
    You become what you think about most. When you continually focus on the fear of failure, failure will become real for you. Look instead at the possibilities. Look at what could happen if only you would attempt it. Sure, it might not succeed completely. Yet even then you will learn something.”


  4. Rummuser says:

    I think that my forthcoming post for the LBC on “Act” should explain my take on this subject.


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