Error! (it’s a way of life)

I’ve been trying to embrace my imperfection lately and I saw this post on Lifehacker today about learning from your mistakes. The whole essay is great but this paragraph really spoke to what my mission lately has been:

For anyone who never discovers a deeper self-identity, based not on lack of mistakes but on courage, compassionate intelligence, commitment and creativity, life is a scary place made safe only by never getting into trouble, never breaking rules and never taking the risks that their hearts tell them they need to take.”


I am trying to get to that deeper self-identity and break the rules and taking the risks my heart tells me to take- rather than ignoring them like I have most of my life. Doing the transition in my 30’s when my brain is more frozen in place than it was when I was a teen or in my 20’s makes it more difficult I think (if you believe the neuroscience on brain development). At least I’m generating some new neurons (again, thanks neuroscience!). The message in the Lifehacker article dovetails well with the book I recently finished “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” by Kathryn Shculz which gets at some of the same points. Science progresses by people being wrong. So does life, or so I’ve come to believe now. Previously I was scared to make a mistake, ever. If I did, it said the worst about me. Now, I’m not saying it’s not worth trying and doing good work, but starting often requires error until you do get it right. It’s about learning. No one just knows how to do something (or they are few and far between!). So rather than feeling terrible that I don’t ‘just get it’ right away, I’m trying to take a learning mindset. I will screw up the first several times, but I will learn and get better. It’s a message I never was really exposed to (or wouldn’t listen to if I was). Hopefully it’s not too little, too late for me. So new perspective. Live. Learn. Laugh. (Love).  

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Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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