“You’ll never amount to anything.” “You’re dumber than a box of rocks.” “My gosh, you’re stupid. The hammer was right in front of you.” Growing up with a steady diet of comments like that will make you afraid to try anything in life for fear that you will fail. We were punished severely and shamed viciously for failing as children, and the history of that pain makes it just not worth risking falling short again. Perfectionistic parents will not allow for failure. However we don’t stretch and grow without trying new things, and that almost guarantees that we will not do it well in the beginning…and possibly for a long time. There are some things that we are naturally gifted at and can do well without much time invested. However for most abilities, to get good at it, requires repetition, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. Our abusive parents over reacted to our failures. Most failures are not a matter of life and death. You are not a horrible human being because you screwed up. It isn’t the end of the world. There is always the opportunity to try again and do it better next time. Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes better. Be encouraged by small successes as you work toward the big success or goal. Keep chipping away at mastering your new skill. Tell yourself,”I’ve had some small successes and little victories. Although I’m not getting this part right now I’m not going to quit. If necessary I’ll ask someone for help.” Asking for help is also something that we were not permitted to do as children. Our parents did not want to be bothered. However many people are not like our parents and would be delighted to share their knowledge and expertise with us if you ask. By taking new risks you will be challenging outdated assumptions, learn to persevere, and maintain a positive attitude when the learning is not going well.
Think of what Thomas Edison once said in creating the light bulb, “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” That is a man who would not give up. He did not even view his lack of success as failure. We might still be using candles and oil lamps today if not for his “I will not quit” attitude.
Attempt something new today that will give you the opportunity to stretch and grow. Here is a Web site of fun activities in the Dayton area that can provide new experiences for you: http://www.livestrong.com/article/207213-fun-things-to-do-in-dayton-ohio Don’t forget there are classes for just about anything: sewing, dancing, computer skills, culinary arts. The list is endless. Give something a try that you have always been afraid to attempt for fear of failing. You will develop as a person…and make mistakes!