“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Neil Gaiman, 2011
The new year offers us a psychological clean slate. A new beginning. A fresh start. It’s a time that many people reflect on the previous year and set goals or make resolutions for the new year. We encourage that practice. There is enormous value in taking an inventory of your life, whether you do it at the end of the year or any other time. Checking in with yourself to see where you are relative to where you want to be helps you to move closer to your dream life.
To those of you who manage to successfully set and keep your New Year’s resolutions, great job! But what happens all too often with the rest of us mortals is we set resolutions and goals only to slip within a few weeks and give up. Maybe our goals were too ambitious, or maybe we weren’t properly prepared to incorporate the changes into our daily routine. Whatever the reason, breaking New Year’s resolutions or goals is the norm.
What tends to hamper people’s success is taking an all-or-nothing approach to their goals. One might set a goal to avoid sugar or minimize screen time, for example. Well one doughnut or falling-down-the-rabbit-hole Facebook session later, most people give up on their goals because they weren’t perfect at meeting them.
We want to encourage you this year to embrace failure! Yes, you read that right…embrace failure! Make mistakes! Lots of them! Messing up or “failing” moves you forward because it allows us to learn what NOT to do, which is at least as valuable as knowing what TO do. It doesn’t matter if we stick to our goals perfectly. What really matters is that we stay moving forward, learning along the way. Every successful person you have ever met or ever will meet has failed over and over again. Failure is unavoidable on the path to success. As JK Rowling said, “Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
Don’t fail by default! This year, set ambitious goals, fail at them, learn something, and then keep it moving. We call it “failing forward.” Don’t wait until you’re “ready” to start living your dream life!
Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series on maximizing mistakes.
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