Mistaken Perfection

I spent a good portion of the day editing applications and papers for people. One person, whose work I love, was in a lot of conflict about her work. She made a wonderful paper about her experiences going through high school, and how they built her up. Her work was as a good as any, better even. At the first few redirects and advising points, her confidence in her very lengthy and admirable list of skills and experience began to falter.

I’ve taken advice in the past quite personally as well. One mistake, and suddenly I feel like I’ve fucked the whole project up, that I’ve done damage to the final product that will be both inconceivable and irreconcilable. 9/10, it’s that I made a slight grammar error in an email script, or that I’ve been a little late on a project. Certainly, those are not things you want to do by any measure. However, when kept as minority instances, they are undoubtedly things you can heal from.

Mistakes don’t have to be crippling, nor often are they. Instead, it’s the fixation, obsession and inner-amplification of mistakes that is consistently more damaging. A grammar error or poorly-structure paper takes 5 minutes to reconfigure. Being late to a meeting takes a little more elbow grease and effort to rebuild rapport. Using a slight mistake as something to maim one’s self is not a practice that lends itself to success, but to personal injury.

The path to succeeding in anything is the path of choosing to condition your strengths to be stronger, and your weaknesses to be sufficed. Pouring salt into a prideful wound, won’t accelerate the healing of pride, but the pain of the cut. Beating yourself up over little things, doesn’t make them smaller nor make them go away, but instead, makes the little things weigh down on you a lot more.

You can choose how to see your mistakes. You can choose to heal or to wound yourself. You can choose to cast of your weights or to sew them to you. Pride does not grow when covered by the obsession with faults, but by the recognition of greatness.

The choice is yours.


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