Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mistakes

Mistakes are something that I've always been pretty hard on myself throughout my entire life. There are plenty of reasons as I'm sure many others out there would attest to as well. I could delve into the details of all of these, but it most likely would not further this particular discussion. Of course, it is important to note that I am not saying you should not travel into these areas of your life. On the contrary, I feel it is important to go in and reclaim these misfires of communication in your mind that distort mistakes. Once you do, you offer your brain a different path to travel when these circumstances come up.

I am very creative but as I create, I get very critical of myself. This is especially true when it comes to creating music. Most of the music I play is songs that I create in the moment. They are not repeated from anyone or anything but totally what happens at the moment my hands rest on the keyboard. If you had the opportunity to be around me when I am creating, you would more than likely hear me say at some point as I was listening to a playback of the song, "there was a mistake". To the average person or even the talented musician, they would not hear the mistake. That is because what I call a mistake is how what I am hearing playback to me is not how my mind heard the music come together. And yet, I am realizing now that those little moments that I call mistakes have led to some wonderful moments in the songs I have created. It has given them a depth and dimension all to their own that without these "mistakes", they would not be all that they are.

One of my favorite authors, Ellen Langer in the book "On Becoming An Artist" writes about mistakes in the following quote on page 81

If we know just where we are going we can’t go anywhere new. Mistakes not only set the stage for a mindful approach to the work at hand but also reveal our individuality. When we all act according to the same plan, our final products are likely to look the same, just as machine-made rugs do. Our “errors,” by contrast, stand a chance to be both unique and interesting. The difference between a line drawn with a ruler and one drawn by hand is that, in the latter, the individual shines through.


So if we feel we really have to embrace that we make mistakes in life, why not try turning the tables on the thought process for a moment. If we see mistakes as an opportunity towards greater awareness or insight, than the person who makes many mistakes, has so many opportunities in life. Just imagine having all those opportunities.

Of course if we take the mindful approach to what we consider mistakes, than all that you are and all the potential you have, has the opportunity to shine as bright as the brightest star.

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