Thursday, October 14, 2010

Inspiring Thursdays - Messing Up

This week for my inspiring Thursday post I thought I'd do something a little different. Instead of being inspired, I wanted to take a moment to encourage you instead.

If you know me, you probably know I'm a perfectionist, in just about everything except cleaning (somehow it totally skips over that whole area of my life lol). If I throw a party it has to look like it popped off the page of a Martha Stewart magazine article. If I play a game, I have to win. If I dance I'm going to spend hours in front of a mirror trying to perfect just the right amount of hip movement. This is just me. I want to do the best that I can, always, otherwise, what's the point of doing it at all?

I think the best story I can share to relate how crazy I am is from when I was about 10 or 11 years old. My mom had just paid for me to start taking piano lessons (which I had been begging her for years for) and she came home one day from the library with a video of a concert pianist in concert. We snuggled up on the couch and watched the whole video, during the middle of which I broke down into a fit of crying. My Mom, obviously worried asked me what was wrong and I replied "I just realized no matter how hard I try to learn the piano, I am never going to be as good as that guy on the tape." At that moment, I figured "what's the point of learning to do something you're never going to be the best at." !?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I don't remember how, but my mom convinced me to stick with the piano anyway, and it's become one of the greatest loves in my life since then.

But that is how my brain works. And I know it's messed up, and I know it's wrong and flawed, but that doesn't change the fact that at a base level that's still how I think. So let's just say I can be a tad hard on myself. Nothing is ever good enough, or perfect enough, I can always find the flaw, the thing that needs to be improved on.

Now, on one hand I credit my accelerated learning rate to this way of thinking. When you are never satisfied and always craving to get better, learn and grow, things start happening at an astounding rate. But it's at a great cost, because you constantly view yourself as a failure, and a screwup, aware of every flaw you possess at all times.

This can lead to bad things.

I mean, come on, take your pick of "artists gone crazy trying to make their life's masterpiece" stories. There are thousands of them. So lately I'm trying to come to terms with myself, and with messing up.

One thing that has helped me is a quote I heard the other day that I have sort of fallen in love with. Sadly I can't for the life of me remember who said it or even where I was when I heard it but it went something like this:

"Every time I mess up and fall on my face, at least I can take comfort in the fact that I'm moving forward and not backward."


I think that is the coolest thing I've ever heard, and what's more is that it's so true. Everytime I totally mess up, I always learn something. Usually it's "wow, that was a bad idea, now I know not to do that again." But even in my failure I'm really progressing and moving forward.

Thomas Edison spent years trying to invent the lightbulb, and when asked about his long string of failures to do so, he simply replied:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."


How amazing an outlook on life is that!? THAT is where I want to live my life. I want to view my failures as lovable test pilots for life, forging ahead and showing me all the things not to do. I want to learn to love my failures. I want to be able to sit down, look them in the face and tell them that "you know what? I still love you anyway." And that's hard, especially as an artist to do.

So next time you mess up, fall on your face and totally make a fool out of yourself remember to take a second to pause, to not react with self loathing but instead with love.

And since all posts are prettier with a photo, I thought I share this one of Audrey that Joey snapped the other morning. I hope it brings a smile to your face like it does mine!

4 comments:

Sabrina 10:50 PM  

um and your AMAZING at the piano!!!! this post is TOTALLY inspiring to me!!!! thank you <3

Krystal Radlinski 8:52 PM  

I can so relate with your struggle between perfection, anxiety, optimism and hopelessness! While I appreciate that it's the same drive in me that pushes me to create and achieve, it also sometimes casts one into the mires.

Thank you for the charming reminder to continue putting "falling on ones face" in perspective.

And I just added T. Edison's quote to the whiteboard next to my desk to keep reminding me.

Cheryl 11:16 AM  

You may fall, but you fall and roll with such style! .... just saying.

strohlie 7:02 PM  

Kadie, Thank you for this. I read it to my daughter tonight. It was truly a wonderful piece of wisdom. Pam (& Emma)

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