Screwing up can be frustrating, embarrassing or just plain inconvenient. But it can also be a powerful reminder of some very important truths.
Most of us invest a lot of time and energy in getting things right. It is often part of the reason we do yoga: to enhance our physical and mental health, to concentrate better, be more productive, be stronger.
These are positive things and, obviously, life is easier when the day goes to plan.
When we mess up — make a mistake — it can feel like a disaster. We miss a train, flub a presentation, draw a blank in an interview, say something we wish we hadn’t.
Suddenly our carefully managed scheduled and self-image is shaken. Yet, if we let go of our frustration and need for control, something powerful can happen.
Screw ups interrupt out routine
It is easy to get caught in the go-go-go of plans, routines and activities. We start to subconsciously believe that things must be a certain way, and run on a certain schedule. Screwing up jolts us out of this fixed mindset, because we have to address an unexpected situation. This can give us a break, or lead to a necessary reappraisal of how we do things.
Screw ups increase our compassion
When we feel like we have everything in order and under control it is a small step to being frustrated or annoyed with people who aren’t. If I can manage, we think, why can’t they? Mistakes remind us that we’re humans, among other humans, and we all have the occasional fall from grace. This awareness can increase our compassion, reminding us that other people struggle and deserve our kindness and consideration regardless.
Screw ups make space for something new
Mistakes are hammers that crack open the boxes of our fixed ideas and plans, making space for something new. It might be the new gallery, shop or park you discover when you take a wrong turn on a journey; the new friend you make when you have to ask someone for help; or the new skill you learn as you respond to an unexpected situation.
What have you learned from a screw-up? Share in the comments!