How being easier on ourselves has more rewards than we sometimes allow ourselves to know about

We can learn a lot from our children. This week, Buzzy has taught me a profound truth…

Making a mistake means you get to try again! (said in the most sincere cheerful voice!)

We were playing our new “clean up” game where he tosses all his big lego’s into the lego bag. He kept missing on his aim, but instead of getting discouraged and telling himself what a bad athlete he was (which is likely, what my 30 year old self would have done after missing only once), he got all excited, because it meant that he got another turn to try again. He did his little celebration bouncy dance and delightfully took several more rounds with the same block before making it into the bag and cheerfully going to try it with another.

I’ve spent far too much of my life being hard on myself. I’ve been a competitor since the beginning. I competed in music competitions, scholastic competitions, heck, I competed when it wasn’t a competition!

Unfortunately, the competitive atmosphere and nature of my spirit have caused me to have a great fear of failure.

Making a mistake or not being perfect has stopped me from trying a great many things.

I don’t like to do things that I’m not good at. I want to skip the 10,000 hours of practice and be a master of an artform immediately so I don’t have to suffer the humiliation that comes with “not being good”. Basically, I want to have perfect aim and make the shot on the first try.

But, crazy enough, it rarely happens that way with any type of consistency!

Ever wondered why?

1. By nature we were created to learn everything step by step.

We learn to walk and talk in appropriate proportions, mixed with a whole lot of stumbles that require us to rise again and again.

2. Its the stumbles (and getting back up) that help develop strength in our muscles.

The next time we’re a bit more steady, and then even more steady, until eventually we’re walking with confidence and it becomes second nature.

Buzzy has been delightful to watch in his development for one simple reason: He doesn’t let his mistakes get him down.

He hasn’t learned yet how to belittle himself, how to give up, how to compare himself to his peers progress, or how to set unrealistic expectations.

Could it really be that all those discouraging traits are LEARNED? They have to be! Because we certainly aren’t born that way!

I’m continually fascinated by just how fast children learn. The speed of their progress in those early years is astounding, but I truly believe that part of that has to do with the absence of all those limitations we place on ourselves later on!

What if we tried a simple expiriment…

Could we actually increase the speed of our own progress by removing the limiting thoughts we give ourselves?

Could I relearn the following principles:

1. Missing the shot means that I get another turn!

2. Learning is the same thing as playing!

3. There is no competition since I’m the only player in the “learning a new skill” game.

4. Celebrate each small success with clapping, dancing, and shout “I did it!” with eager delight

Try it! It feels a whole lot better, its more fun for you and everyone else in the household, and you really do progress faster!

As a little happy bonus, I wanted to share a wonderful passage I read recently in an inspiring book. But I much prefer to read it to you myself 🙂

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  She enjoys vacuuming, brisk walks, and Blue Bunny All Natural Vanilla Ice Cream every night before bed (did you know calcium helps you sleep better?!).

Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativity.

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4 Responses

  1. You can’t help but smile while reading/watching your blog & videos. Thanks for the early morning spirit lift 😉

  2. How FASCINATING, indeed! Oh man do I need to do that! I want to be perfect at everything all the time. And it’s just a real bummer that I’m downright horrible at some of the things I want to be awesome at 🙂 Ah, life.

    We actually heard about a concept like this in regards to teaching our children. How it’s super important to tell our kids that we’re proud of they’re “hard work” or “the time they spent” or mostly emphasize they’re efforts, because it’s something they can improve upon and keep up. But when someone always hears that they’re “smart” or “talented” or “beautiful,” those are all things that are innate and can feel unchangeable. So when they struggle with something, they want to give up because it didn’t come automatically. Whereas they’ll be up to the challenge if they’ve be applauded for their EFFORTS all along the way.

    Anyhoo…I’m working on it with my kids, but I really need to do this for ME, too. “How fascinating” will be my new mantra 🙂

  3. I am terribly hard on myself when I fail at something or a or have unexpected setbacks when trying to learn something. I was browsing through my google reader this afternoon and I happened upon your post–just after I had read a different post that shared this video:

    I think what I will take away from this is that it takes courage to set goals and take risks and I need to be kind to myself when walking that path. AND to always be willing to TRY AGAIN and look at my mistakes as FASCINATING experiments!

    Thanks for sharing today!

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