Today is Saturday, July 29, 2017

Oops, my mistake

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Our second-to-last core value in the series could quite possibly be my favorite. But since I feel like I've said that about each value, I'll narrow it down by saying it's probably my most-often committed core value. After all, to err is human.

None of us set out to intentionally make mistakes, right? Why is that? Maybe it comes from our scholastic conditioning. Growing up, we're raised to study hard and memorize the answers so we can get good grades. When we get something wrong, it's marked incorrect and we lose points. If we do poorly in athletic events, we're punished with extra laps or missed time on the field of play.

Even at home, where we should be safest to screw up, we walk a fine line of good, regimented behavior and childish enthusiasm for exploration. I can still remember with vivid detail the time I flushed my mom's brand new Clinique makeup set down the toilet because I thought I was making a magic potion. The only magic I found was a bright red bottom.

While I advise taking smarter measures than my 3-year-old self, I think we should instead look for ways to reward failure. I'm not claiming to have all the answers, but think about it.

If you're afraid of making a mistake, you'll want to make less of them. As such, you'll learn less and thus grow less. But if we're encouraged or even rewarded when making certain mistakes, we'll be more apt to explore the new path, to test the undiscovered and unknown.

All throughout history, the desire to fail can be seen as a direct precursor to success. Edison made over 1,000 mistakes when trying to create the lightbulb. But he didn't see them as failures, he saw them as lessons on how to create something that at the time was truly revolutionary.

We often sensationalize the successful as an overnight ambition. A matter of luck and chance, with a sprinkle of hard work. But in reality, that success was likely born from years or decades of hard work. It was created in a furnace of failure and frustration mixed with a heaping spoonful of determination and resilience.

The thought begs the question, what wonders have we been deprived of because the potential founder gave in to their fear of failure? Could we all have those flying cars we were promised decades ago? Calorie-free ice cream bars? Who knows, but I'm sure the villainous fear of failure has robbed us of at least a handful of amazing human potential.

How can you begin to correct the condition? Simple. By seeking out failure. When most others tuck tail and run the other direction, you will stand boldly and charge into battle. You will tackle failure knowing that no matter how banged up you get, you'll come out stronger on the other end.

Be aware of ways you're stifling growth in those around you, too. How can you nudge them forward to test their boundaries while ensuring their safe return? It may seem unusual or even uncomfortable at first. You may encounter resistance. But just tell them you're working on calorie-free ice cream and flying cars... they'll leave you alone.

If you're interested in learning more about mistakes, from mistakes I've made to mistakes clients have made, and the lessons they've revealed visit and click the blog, "Live and learn." Keep a smile on your face as you fail and make the day awesome!

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Get Fresh with Andy Frisch
Andy Frisch, column, fitness, Get Fresh, health, nutrition, personal trainer, weight loss, wellness
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