Let’s start this with one of my favourite Neil Gaiman quotes. If you find you’re getting sick of my talking about him, please unfollow me, I’m not sure why you’re here to begin with.
“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.”
This is a short version and one of a number of quotes of him about making mistakes. Maybe he keeps repeating himself, because people tend to forget that it’s okay to make mistakes and that it’s part of our growing. At least as long as we’re capable of growth. It seems to me not everyone is and quite a few of those people choose to become politicians, which is the worst possible decision they could be making.
Anyway, that’s a rant for another day.
We make mistakes every day. Mostly they’re small ones, either they fall through the gaps and go unnoticed, or someone points them out, hopefully gently instead of making you feel like an idiot.
If you make yourself feel like an idiot, it’s a different issue entirely.
Listen, it’s okay.
I’ve made a few mistakes at work this week. I’m still wrapping my head around the details of my new job and sometimes forget one of them, or I’m extra cautious when I needn’t be. Not the end of the world.
Sometimes it’s a mistake to speak up, sometimes to remain silent. There’s no way to know for sure and you will just have to go with your instinct. And when you do and end up being wrong, it doesn’t mean that your instinct was mistaken. It just means that you couldn’t have considered all variables, because that’s usually quite impossible anyway.
Your mistakes are yours to make and yours to learn from. And mine are mine.
It’s easy to say this, a little harder to understand, sometimes quite inconceivable to believe. And it doesn’t stop us from being afraid to make more mistakes.
I wonder frequently what I’m doing writing or considering myself a writer. Was it a mistake to make up this website? Will it be a mistake to quit my London life and go travel and write? Would it be a mistake not to go? Do I have all pieces of information in order to make the best decision possible? And if I find that I don’t, am I not bound to make a mistake, perhaps a big one?
I don’t know. You can never be certain until you take the plunge. There’s a risk, of course, but you can at least decide if it’s worth it or not.
Believe me. And if you don’t want to, I’ll let Mr. Gaiman close this one:
“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.”
In my book, doing something and getting it wrong every now and then, is much better than doing nothing.