Brushing off the dust

After disappointing yourself, underperforming, after you fail to meet your expectations…

You could:

  • Blame someone or something else
  • Pretend you weren’t trying
  • Beat yourself up over your mistakes
  • Pretend you weren’t making any mistakes at all, that ‘luck’ dealt you a bad hand
  • Decide not to learn from your mistakes

Easy choices. Comfortable choices. Reassuring choices.

But the effects never last. The only way to reassure yourself when you fail is to admit that you failed. To blame someone else feels good temporarily, but it doesn’t teach us anything useful and the person we blame is usually innocent. Nobody became an expert at anything by being a couch potato. You can’t improve unless you welcome challenges like a good waiter welcomes customers. And what good is lying to yourself about how much you really care?

Deep down, you know what to do. Move forward. Brush the dust off your shoulders, and move forward. But don’t neglect the past. The past is where your mistakes live. And your mistakes are what you learn from. Think back on the situations in which you erred, internalize the means by which you will improve. Think forward and move.

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