embracing temporary failureAcquiring new skills often requires a learning curve, a time when it is very normal to make “mistakes” as the new behavior is internalized and mastered. It is often an uncomfortable sensation particularly to someone who already has achieved mastery in other areas. Mistakes can threaten our image, both in our own eyes and in the eyes of others, this can in turn trigger our insecurities. This unwillingness to leave a comfort zone, to walk the valley necessary to scale the next mountain top is major barrier to personal and professional growth and exploration.

I play racquetball with a gentleman who will go so far as to put his non-dominant shoulder up against the court wall in order to hit a backhand shot as forehand shot. As a result a) he is out of position and leaves the court is wide open for a passing shot and b) he never developed his backhand. Yes, he if started using his backhand for a period of time he perhaps would make more “mistakes” until his backhand developed. However, by embracing “temporary failure,” in the long run he would grow as a player, become stronger, better, and more versatile.

Closing quotes:

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”   — Ralph Waldo Emerson; 1803–1882

“I have failed over and over in my life and that is why I succeed.”  — Michael Jordan; 1963–

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.” — Denis Waitley