Getting It Wrong.
No matter how many times you’ve done something, you’re bound to screw it up sometimes. Cooked a recipe a hundred times? You’ll occasionally forget to add that essential ingredient at the right time. Given a talk in front of countless audiences? You’ll sometimes screw up that vital line that ties the whole presentation together. Written a bunch of comic scripts where you’ve nailed the ending? You can still miss the nail altogether.
I’ll give you one guess as to which of those comparisons applies to me.
It’s an unpleasant but important lesson to learn. Practice can make perfect, but supposed perfection can lead to complacency, and that can lead to mistakes. If not complacency, then perhaps distraction leads to those mistakes. After all, you’ve done this thing a thousand times. You don’t need to think about it too hard any more. You’ve got this process down perfectly and there’s no way you could make a mistake. Right? The lesson to learn is that no matter how practiced and/or perfect you are, no one is safe from screwing up.
The lesson you learn from that is how you deal with your screw-up. Do you laugh in its face, congratulate it on catching you with your guard down, and vow to do better next time? Do you let defeat overtake you, convinced you’ve been a fraud all along, and never approach that thing you messed up again? Or do you find yourself somewhere in between, where you’re disappointed with making a beginner’s mistake but pledge to pick yourself up and try again once the sting has worn off?
I’ll give you one guess as to which of those ways is how I deal with screwing up.
But despite all that, don’t be afraid to screw up. It can be a teachable moment that shapes you as a creator, and as a person. Wisdom comes from learning from your mistakes, and if you’re too afraid to make mistakes then you’ll never learn important albeit unpleasant lessons.