Thought Catalog

Make Mistakes Every Day

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Make Mistakes Every Day

I wake up later than expected. The rooster didn’t crow. Alarm didn’t go off – it was set for 7 PM instead of 7 AM, oops. I grab my phone and enter the password. Incorrect. Try again, maybe get it right, or maybe take 2-5 more irritated screen-mashing attempts to get the combination right. I browse various social networks, panicking after accidentally “liking” the Facebook status of an acquaintance I never interact with. I’ll follow that up by inadvertently double tapping someone’s photo on Instagram. The last person I’d want aware that I’m looking at their photos. That little heart that pops up when you’ve tragically “liked” an image is so cruel and loveless as it exposes your lurking habits.

I get out of bed, head to the bathroom and promptly stub my toe on a nightstand that’s been in the exact same spot for years. Take a piss – miss, getting a drop or two on the seat, despite having done this multiple times over the past 20ish years. Hop in the shower to wash up, manage to get shampoo in my eyes shortly thereafter. The rest of the shower goes fairly smoothly, but I do slip and almost take a very nasty tumble on my way out of the tub. This is a typical morning.

I get in the car and begin driving. Along the way I make turns, often times forgetting to use my blinker. Finally I realize that this is my turn, so I have to quickly switch lanes, cutting off a (now angry) driver. I pull up to my destination — a coffee shop, parking as best I can, which is terribly crooked. I exit the car, clumsily tripping on my way toward the coffee shop – did anybody see that? Now I’m so distracted by self-conscious concern that I pull a door that clearly says, “PUSH” on it. In my defense, the door did have a handle that just begs you to pull it.

Once inside I order a muffin and some fancy, lactose intolerant friendly coffee drink. The barista botches my order, and I end up with some concoction that looks delicious and has tons of whipped cream on top. Meh, I’m a pushover and this place is busy, I’ll bite my tongue. Literally too, I bit my tongue trying to eat the muffin – really painful stuff. By the time I’m done eating, there are enough crumbs in my lap to build an entirely new muffin. Been eating for years, still don’t know how to do it without making a mess. I gulp down the last bit of fancy java, whipped cream and all, and then I’m on my way.

At this point, it’s only 8:30 AM. I’ve only been awake and active for maybe an hour or so, if that, yet I’ve managed to screw up royally on numerous occasions. Simple things that I’m very familiar with and well aware of like my phone’s password, the location of a nightstand, navigating social networks like a certified creeper, urinating in a toilet, shampooing my hair, exiting a bathtub, paying attention while driving, eating, etc. If I experience 8 screw-ups per hour awake, and I’m awake about 17-18 hours daily, that means I’m rapidly approaching 150 mishaps every single day. Am I clumsy, accident-prone, or a flat-out disaster on two legs?

I’m not the only one and I found comfort in the fact that the barista screwed up my order – because that means other people are sucking at the stuff they do every day, which leads me to wonder why we live life so cautiously? If our lives are basically blooper reels in which we commit various blunders routinely, why not take high risks, get out of comfort zones and do whatever the hell we want, worry free? Mistakes are inevitable, albeit, the ones previously described were minor ones, we still shouldn’t be afraid to fall flat on our faces on a grand scale. All of the metaphorical toe stubs, shampoo to the eyes, pulls when we should push and poor parking jobs in the world shouldn’t shy you away from continuing to try things and take risks.

You know what my biggest mistake was? Biting my tongue at the coffee shop – figuratively. Why? Well, for one, I sacrificed what I wanted for the wrong reasons. I’m a fairly shy pushover, I didn’t want to make the barista feel bad for messing up, I didn’t want to hold others up in line, etc. When you screw-up, whether it’s the tiniest or biggest gaffe you’ve ever made, that’s completely okay. We make or mistakes, we don’t have a CTRL + Z for life, so we learn from them, and we aren’t perfect so we’ll make some of ‘em again in the future. I screwed up by drinking the entire confection. You know what happened? I paid dearly. Lactose intolerance taught me a valuable life lesson: the worst mistake we can possibly make is to sacrifice what we want or need for the sake of others. We can’t endure suffering for others to be comfortable. By being overly considerate of every individual in the coffee shop, minus myself, I spent nearly a week in a great deal of discomfort courtesy of assorted dairy products.

The point here is that it’s worth taking a step back and evaluating which beverages you’re drinking daily because you want to, and which ones you chug down and swallow along with your pride for the benefit of others. We’re allowed to suck at things. We trip on stuff we knew were there, we mess up performing actions for the 2000th time, and we pull when the correct answer (push) is right in front of our faces. Knowing you’re a massive screw-up all the time should have you battle tested for future, significant missteps that are much cooler, better stories than slipping on your way out of the tub. Just don’t sacrifice your personal wants because you fear failing in the world — or sacrifice your stomach because you fear offending/delaying people in the coffee shop. TC Mark

image – Shutterstock
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