This is my first post as a Contributing Blogger for Women’s Elevation Magazine. I will be contributing on the first and third Mondays of the month. I am so grateful and humbled by this opportunity! 🙂 Check out the magazine at http://www.womenselevationmagazine.com.
In the front of one of my colleague’s classroom is a sign that reads, “Mistakes are proof that you’re trying.” It’s designed to call the students’ attention back to the heart of what is to be happening in the classroom – the learning process. In the learning process, mistakes are inevitable because you are trying to grasp something that you previously either did not know or knew erroneously. Sometimes you can learn concepts and still not be able to properly apply the concepts to problems that are given. Sometimes you have the concept and the application understood but you have simply miscalculated something.
The sign hangs there day after day as a reminder and most days it is lost on the students. I have witnessed my colleague stand in front of the classroom, ask a question for the students to answer, and not one hand would be raised to give an answer. I have seen her implore the students to try to implement what has been taught and have noticed the blank stares and the fearful shifting of the eyes. No one wants to say the wrong thing because no wants to look stupid, dumb, or unintelligent.
I wish this problem was purely elementary but the truth is that some of us adults are just like that. The crippling fear of making mistakes has never gone away. Some of us have been paralyzed by the fear of not knowing or looking crazy for so long that we cannot remember the last time we have truly taken a chance to pursue something worthwhile or do something courageous. We live life very safely and we only take chances when we are absolutely sure about our probability for success.
The only thing is – life rarely allows you to be paralyzed by fear and still be great. Some of the world’s greatest success stories have come after numerous, and sometimes monumental, mistakes. Mistakes humble us enough to keep us grounded and should ignite us enough to keep us going. Mistakes can only define us if we make them the stopping point.
As the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.” All that means is that you won’t know if something will work or is a success until you have tried it. Some of your greatest gifts, passions, and blessings are birthed out of your mistakes and to rob yourself of these unique “teachers” within your learning process could mean missing out on much. Whether your mistakes are because of ignorance, error, misapplication, or miscalculation, they will serve a great purpose if you let them. Above all, they serve as a reminder to you that you are trying. Keep going.