The one thing you need to make more of to grow: mistakes

Perfectionism doesn’t help us progress; mistakes do. 

With the right mindset, they push us forward. We need to know that succeeding isn’t neat and tidy; it’s sloppy and messy. It’s mistake-ridden. 

When you make a mistake, it lays the groundwork for improvement. Every failure is an attempt to do something. And in those attempts, you experience this and that. You test a hypothesis; you discover. You see what works and what doesn’t work, and you can understand something new about yourself. 

Sure, making a mistake is painful, and it’s tempting to want to ignore the failure, avoid it. But that would be a waste. That would be a bigger mistake than the mistake you’re trying to forget. 

Mistakes are a goldmine for growth and learning. But you can’t learn and grow from them if you ignore them. 

If Steve Jobs didn’t get fired from Apple, he wouldn’t have learned what he needed to learn to come back and become its successful CEO. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, said that he’s made billions of dollars of failures. And without those costly mistakes, his company wouldn’t have grown, making him the wealthiest person in the world. 

One of my biggest mistakes was taking on some wrong business partners. I was the one who pushed for partnering and got it. In the end, it got me. And it almost broke me. 

But as I healed and recovered, I changed. I got stronger, smarter. And I am much more careful when it comes to partnerships. I learned. 

And this blog post is a product of my mistake. If I would have never failed at those partnerships, I don’t think I would have ever tried blogging. I grew. 

You see, we are mistaken about mistakes.

They hurt like hell at the moment, but they are blessings. If you understand them aright and try to learn from them, things won’t just get back to normal; they often get better. 

So make more mistakes. Take risks. Try new things. Put yourself out there. Learn.

And you will find that a mistake can become a marvel.

You need to know that you really are enough

No matter how many likes, hearts, or comments you get, you are enough. Yes. You are. 

We’ve always lived in a world where we’ve compared ourselves with others; the problem is now we have ample data to measure our comparisons. 

If we get less engagement than we want on a post, we feel like we are less, somehow subhuman. 

But you aren’t; you are enough. 

You are a son, a daughter, a friend, a colleague, a human. 

You love and are loved. You create, contribute, make. But you don’t just do; you are. 

You are a person, not just a profile. 

You are a living being. 

Remember that. 

Remember that engagement doesn’t make you enough. 

Being who you are does.

Today is the most powerful day you have

Today you can start changing your life. Right now. This moment.

The career change you wanted to make, the life partner you wanted to find, the blog you’ve talked about starting, today you can do something about them. 

The past needn’t define you. The present is everyone’s opportunity to redefine themselves. 

The future is too cloudy to see it clearly. But what is clear is that the acts done today do mold tomorrow. 

Today isn’t just another day; it’s the story of your life being written with the ink of your actions. 

So act. Begin. Do. 

What will you do today?

One of the best ways to become happy

More. It’s one of the greatest lies there is. 

More money, more sex, more friends, more cars, more education, more this, more that will help me be happy, fulfilled, feel better about myself. But it never does. 

Yes, More can bring happiness. But it’s there; then it’s not. It’s a flash, a moment. Then it’s gone. 

And we are left with this empty feeling, an old ache that no amount of ointment, medicine, gifts, success, fame, can sooth. 

No. More is not what we need. What our hearts long for is this. 

Better. 

You don’t need more crap. Stop buying more. No one needs that much clothes, gadgets, toys, furniture, stuff. Instead, give away what doesn’t add real value to your life.

And, if you buy anything else, only invest in better things, ones that you really need or enjoy, ones that add richness, euphoria, bliss, delight, and function to your life.

We don’t need more friends; we need better friendships, ones that are deep, rich, sacred, trusted. We need intimacy. When they say I love you, it doesn’t sound hollow. It’s as solid as the ground you stand on. It’s real. 

We don’t need more pleasure, finding that next person to bed, the delicious meal to devour, the foreign destination to explore. Sure, they can tickle us, but aren’t we longing for something else, something further away from us, unreachable? 

In my life, I’ve noticed that what I really long for isn’t here, in this world. What I search and pine for always eluded me. It’s a phantom.

It’s like an echo of a tune you’ve never heard, a glimpse of a blinding beauty you have never seen, an aroma of a fare you’ve never tasted; yet, there you are, yearning for it.

It is there. It’s the Better. It’s a world beyond this one, a better world.

It’s transcendent.

When being foolish is the smartest thing you can do

Photo by Ian Froome on Unsplash

We should be foolish more often. For the foolish are the ones who do something new, innovate, change the world. 

It’s true; they do look stupid in the process. People laugh at them, criticize and mock them. “Look at so and so, doing that thing,” the critics will say, “I thought she was smart.”  

But it’s rarely the ones who want to look smart who do something new. It’s the inexperienced. It’s those who are willing to throw themselves in uncharted waters, explore unworn paths, look like a fool.

The ones who make a significant mark on the world didn’t know what they were doing when they were creating the thing that would leave their mark. 

They just did, tried, experimented. They made things up as they went along. 

You need to be foolish enough to fail, quit a good job, look stupid, try something you’ve never done, go somewhere you’ve never been to reach your potential. 

And you have the power to do it. It’s not about intelligence, expertise, or even education. 

It’s about trying, doing. 

In the midst of that, you will learn and grow. 

And it won’t happen in a flash. It’s progressive. 

It starts with small steps, day by day, moment by moment, failure by failure; and something new will emerge.

It will be the thing you create, but you also won’t be the same. You will change.

And the fool will become a genius, the quitter a hero, the failure a success. 

Foolish can be the smartest thing you can be. 

Stay hungry. Stay foolish

Steve Jobs

Sometimes rest is the best thing for your work

We want to succeed, improve our work, write better. So we grind away, working more, harder, believing that’s what we should do. 

But that’s wrong. 

Yes, we need to work hard. And yes, that often equates to long hours, dogged days, grinding away. 

Yet, there are times when no matter how many hours you put in, hard work just doesn’t work. In fact, working harder works against you. 

When the ideas stop flowing, solutions don’t arise, or words stop prancing from your fingers, that’s a good indicator that you need to do something different, drastically different. 

That’s when the best thing you can do is this. Stop. Walk away. Rest. Roll your chair back and take a walk around the block, maybe even go for a hike. 

Sometimes even that’s not enough. You need to unplug. Get out of your phone, out of the state, out of the country, for days, weeks. You need to get lost. 

You need rest. 

Resting can be the best thing for your work. It’s where you can recharge your energy cells, your brain, your heart, your soul. 

When you’re lost, read a book, a novel, something entertaining, something that makes you laugh. Paint a landscape painting, journal in your Moleskin, drink good wine. Do anything else but work. 

And you will feel yourself being restored; the space to recuperate will leave you refreshed. You will be renewed. You’ll feel the energy to work return.

When you get back to your desk, you will find that the ideas will flow afresh, solutions will come anew, and words will dance from your fingers again. 

As a result, your work will be better. 

Great work comes with good rest. 

One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself: Forgive

We all make mistakes, and we forgive others. But often forgiving ourselves is harder. 

But we must. 

Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s that thing you did or continue doing that you can’t release and forgive yourself. Instead, you punish. 

I know all about that. 

Defiance marked my teenage face, as I screamed at her. She stopped speaking. And I started calling my mom unspeakable names, unleashing words like armed missiles. She would flee, and I would seethe. It was ugly; I was ugly. 

In college, I started to follow Jesus and accepted his forgiveness. But I would always say that there was one thing I could not forgive, and that was the way I treated my mom. 

So I held on to my guilt and shame. Unknowingly, I beat myself up, launching armed missiles at myself, perpetuating an old wound. It was ugly; I was ugly. 

Then one day, some guy I knew talked to me. And somehow we got on this subject, and he said something that I would never forget, “If God can forgive you for everything, why can’t you forgive yourself? Are you better than God?” 

I was stunned. 

The truth of his statement and the utter blindness of my behavior and mindset were stunning to me. The understanding washed over me like a wave washes over you on the seashore. 

My burden melted away from me; I was free. 

What I didn’t expect was how much better I was going to feel. The quickness and sharpness of my anger lost its snap and edge. My missiles were disarmed. I felt calmer and was kinder to others, to myself. 

It was work, though. It wasn’t just a one and done kind of thing. I had to continually forgive myself, reminding myself of what my friend told me, remembering that it was foolish to beat myself up over my past failings. 

And slowly over the years, I wasn’t just continually forgiving myself; I forgave myself. 

Forgive yourself. Holding onto your failings, shame, sin doesn’t do anyone good. It certainly does you no good. 

It’s counterintuitive to think that if I forgive myself that I will become a better person. It’s tempting to believe that if I just keep on lashing myself with the past, I’ll get better; but it doesn’t work that way. We don’t get better. We get worse. 

Shame begets shame; unkindness begets unkindness. It’s a cycle–vicious and bloody. 

It takes a radical act to break it.

Forgiveness is the only door through which true healing comes. And that’s exactly what we need to mend our wounds and cease to perpetuate them. We need balm and bandage. We need to forgive ourselves. 

And you will find that you will no longer see yourself as that person who did that terrible thing. You will see yourself as a person who can change. You will no longer be trapped in the cage of the past. You will be released to live anew. 

You will be free. 

Do you know how valuable you really are?

You are more valuable than you think you are, believe you are. 

Even with all of your mistakes, guilt, shame, sin, flaws, and failures, you are worth more than all of the gold in the world. 

The people who told you you are worthless lied to you. They spoke out of their shame and lack of understanding of their value. 

They are wrong about you. 

No matter how many have rejected you, you are worthy: worthy of love, worthy of belonging, worthy of dignity, worthy of being, worthy of forgiveness, deserving of infinite value. 

You are kings and queens, adorned with honor, grace, and light. 

And no amount of makeup, muscle mass, injections, bronzed skin, jewelry, or the like can add to it. The numbers on the scale, in your account, on your blog do not make you better or worse, nor will your accomplishments, what you’ve done, are doing, will do.

You are valuable as you are now, as you were born.

Your value is inherently infinitely valuable. Even with nothing, you are priceless.

I am not lying to you; it is true. This is what I remind myself. 

When I look into your face, I see the face of God. 

How change can make the best of you now

Change is scary. But we can learn to face it and turn it to our advantage. 

The reason we fear change is because we can’t control it. It often happens to us. 

And we see it as adversarial: Change is the enemy and is messing with my life. Change is changing what I don’t want to be changed. 

We can fight it. But that tactic usually ends badly. 

But we can alter the way we view it. 

Change is a chance. It’s a time to grow. We can try something we’ve never done before and expand our mind, practice, life. 

We can’t change change, but we can choose to change ourselves, our actions, our language, our thinking.

Change is painful, but, if we think rightly, it can mean progress. 

By changing the way we see change, viewing it less as a burden and a thing to fear and more like something that helps us, grows us, pushes us to be better; we change. 

Now, instead of change happening to us, it’s happening for us. 

It needn’t be torture. 

It’s a teacher. 

What do you think about fear?

Fear is no way to live. It keeps you from doing what you want, what you should do. 

It causes you to freeze when the moment calls for moving forward. You hide when revealing yourself is better.

Safety is not always sound. 

Sure, it protects us from risk, from possibly dying, losing. 

But living in fear doesn’t help us win. Staying alive doesn’t mean you’re living. 

Open your heart, put yourself out there, get in the game, do. 

There is more to fear than just failure, pain, and death. 

It’s not living.