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Power Up Passages

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December 24, 2007.

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery."
James Joyce

Blunders, bloopers, goofs and gaffes, there's a whole hodgepodge of names for the mistakes we make in life. Regardless of what we call them, they're never a whole lot of fun. Let's face it, nobody likes making mistakes. And while messing things up will never be confused with one of our favorite pastimes, we still mess things up occasionally. Sometimes we mess things up a lot.

Messing up, goofing up and slipping up are just part of growing up. Even then, after years and maybe even decades of making mistakes, we never really completely grow out of them. Mistakes continue to crop up, usually at the most inopportune moments. And sometimes these screw ups are big time blunders, throwing a huge monkey wrench into whatever we're working on. But so what?

We can turn even our biggest foul ups into something special with a little work.

"It's okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are our teachers - they help us to learn."
John Bradshaw

Sometimes we get so caught up and concerned about messing things up that we, well... mess things up. Far too often we're more concerned about what others think about our mistakes than we are about the mistakes themselves. And that's one of our biggest mistakes of all.

Look, being belittled, beleaguered and badgered by people critiquing our every move is no walk in the park, but it's no big deal either. Some of history's greatest success stories bumbled and stumbled their way to the top. Plagued by an assortment of wrong moves and bad decisions, these folks made one mistake after another, sometimes in rapid fire fashion. And they got skewered in the court of public opinion.

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
George Bernard Shaw

Fortunately for them, the opinions held by others were never as important as the goals and aspirations they were chasing. Rather than being negatively influenced by the criticism of others, they kept plugging away until they got it right. These winners literally failed their way to success. And that's a lesson we should take to heart.

We've got to stop worrying about what others think about what we are doing or for that matter, the mistakes we're making. Otherwise, we're allowing them to call the shots. And that's just not going to work, is it? We've got to take charge of where we're headed, and if we make mistakes along the way, so be it. From each mistake made, we get a little smarter, a little stronger and most importantly, a little closer to the reaching the goals we yearn to achieve.

"Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement."
Henry Ford

Our lives are filled with choices. Choices we make, choices we fail to make. And with each choice selected, there is a very good chance that our decisions may not be 100% correct all of the time. Better stated, there is a 100% chance that every decision we make will not be 100% right. But who cares?

If we choose to play it safe and do nothing, we take the biggest risk of all; the risk of needlessly squandering a lifetime of opportunities. And that's just not a risk worth taking. Life should be a daring adventure, an action-packed journey into the unknown where we go for the gusto, holding absolutely nothing back. Instead of worrying about making mistakes, why not let it rip and see what life has in store?

When, not if, we make a mistake, even a major league faux pas, we need to shake it off and get back on track pursuing our dreams. As long as we continue to take chances and keep learning from the errors we make, we'll keep getting better and better and better. Then, before we know it, we'll have indelibly inscribed our names alongside some of the most successful people in history.

The Bottom Line: Don't worry about making too many mistakes. Worry about making too few.


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Author: Greg Hickman


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