Under the Mistake, Gold

“Sometimes it hits me that I’m wrong about most things. About time. About my place in space. About the nature of the body. About the nature of the divine. About human nature. About what death is. About who I am and who my kids are. And about what the creek needs to support the salmon and all its visitors.

But heavens, let’s not worry about being wrong! I’m gradually learning that, paradoxically, it’s the foolsgold–the blunderings, giving ups, breakdowns, in spite ofs, chance encounters, shatterings, letting gos, and mess-ups, that has led to most of the creativity in my life, not the sweet making of something beautiful, or “enlightened” inspiration, and certainly not feeling in control. It’s the opposites, listenings, buzz hums,  the falling (leaping) down the rabbit hole, the stepping through the looking glass, barefoot, with no suitcase, in new territory.”

–Susan G. Wooldridge, Foolsgold, p. 88.

Transformation. Tape, ink, stitching, © Quinn McDonald. All right reserved.

After reading that, I began to wonder why, when we notice we are wrong, we are so concerned with having been wrong, instead of eager to have the skill of discernment and a chance to practice problem solving.

What exciting, wonderful, practical or clever thing have you learned recently from making a mistake?

Here’s my list: I need seven hours of sleep, no matter how much I think I can get by on five or six.

Rushing in the studio is directly proportional to the project failing at the last moment.

Not walking in the morning means losing important incubation time for ideas.

Quinn McDonald is a writer, life- and creativity coach.

4 thoughts on “Under the Mistake, Gold

  1. Here is my recent list of things I learned from making mistakes. (I even made into a blog post, I was so inspired by your post.)
    1. I need to make a written, emphasis on written, to-do list every day, even if it only has 3 items on it.
    2. I need to get out in nature every day — no waiting for the break in the clouds or warm weather. Now.
    3. I do better when I have a bigger goal (reward) built into my week, helps with motivation.

    And I need to tell myself it is OK to make mistakes, especially when I learn from them. Especially then.

    • Good results of making mistakes, I’d say. Max Steingart said (I’m paraphrasing) that people who attempt something incredible and fail are far better than people who try nothing and succeed.

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