Driving: $117.00[/columns] [columns width=”1/2″ last=”true”]
Look, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes (ok, more than fair share), and sometimes when I look back I think to myself, “What the hell were you thinking?!”
And more mistakes are on the way, but I’ve matured enough to start to embrace and welcome them as a part of my daily practice.
When you begin ANYTHING that you’ve never done before, mistakes are to be expected. And the only thing that will keep you going when you’re looking like a klutz or just plain stupid is your vision, and that deep desire to make it a reality.
Without a strong desire to reach your end goal, it’s easy for mistakes to become failures.
And here’s the difference between mistakes and failures. When think about the word “mistake” break it up so that it looks like MIS-TAKE.
Imagine we’re shooting a scene from a movie, and someone messes up the scene by laughing or doing something goofy. Most of the time we’ll have to shoot the scene over again, and this is usually called a RE-TAKE. We’ll just retake the scene until we get it the way we want.
Mistakes work the same way.
When something goes awry, just do it over again until you get it the way you want it, because this is how EVERY GOAL WORTH ACCOMPLISHING is achieved. And I mean EVERY one. If we were always meant to be on course, without deviation, goals would be so easy to accomplish that they would lose their value.
But there is a big difference between Hollywood and real life in that you may not get to retake a scene with the same players again. Like if you get drunk one night and slap your best friend silly cause you thought they were someone else. Ouch.
Or you get an opportunity to pitch your business idea to high profiled investors and in the middle of your presentation you suddenly get the worst jock itch EVER IN HUMAN HISTORY. So you excuse yourself and return 10 minutes later only to find that they’ve moved on to the next pitch. Your opportunity of pitching to them is GONE. Well, for now, anyway.
Or maybe you’re running for President of the United States and this happens:
Ooops. Yeah, COSTLY mistakes like those are hard to get a retake for, especially if what you’ve done is just flat out unforgivable. Rick Perry’s mistake is hardly unforgivable, but it definitely knocked him out of the race. Will he run for president again? Probably not.
Could he get another chance? Of course. He would have to improve his presentation skills immensely, but it’s doable.
Many people GIVE UP on their dreams because it’s just tougher to keep on keepin’ on, especially when it’s difficult to see progress from all your effort. Absolutely it is.
But if you never give up, and never stop trying you will get another shot. If you keep faith, and maintain your vision, you will get a second chance (or more). Maybe it will happen with the same players or an entirely different cast, but you will get another turn. It’s guaranteed.
But if you decide to GIVE UP, and don’t learn from your mistakes and correct course, then you may find yourself leaving the world of mistakes into the realm of FAILURE.
Failure has a totally different vibe and feel from mistakes. Failure means it’s over and done. It don’t work. Kaput. Dead.
I wrote about this awhile back and stated that humans are always successful, and can never fail because we’re just designed for success. But projects, programs, ideas, isms, businesses, and machines can and do fail often and many times we associate those failures to us.
“My business failed. I have to shut it down.” is different from, “My business has to close down. I failed.”
If your arm ceases to work for you then your arm has failed to work, but you can still function. If you happen to go blind, then your eyes have failed to work, not you. Wouldn’t you consider Ray Charles a success? Or Beethoven, who was deaf?
Businesses fail all the time, but the question is how many businesses will you start-up and attempt to make profitable before you quit?
When it comes to humans, the closest we can come to failing is giving up or quitting. The day you stop trying, putting in any kind of effort towards your idea or goal is tantamount to failure.
But you’re still NOT a failure, because one day, in one single moment you may decide to give it another try. THAT business failed, but you DIDN’T fail. So even failure ends up being another decision we make, or a series of decisions we’ve made.
Do we make mistakes? Yes, definitely, and lots of them. The right idea is to learn from them, correct course, get better, and improve. Over and over and over again. And sometimes, what seems like a “failed” effort may just be a glitch on the way to something bigger and better.
Once a scientist was working on a particular kind of glue that would ALWAYS STICK, and his “failure” turned into Post-It Notes.
And there’s so many examples of this all around us. Even unintended innovations come from making mistake after mistake after mistake, and never giving up.
But failure is when your project is over. When something NEVER reaches a satisfying conclusion, and isn’t going to. When progress just stops.
And who determines when something stops completely? Who decides when it’s no longer feasible to go on or whether to continue to press on and improve on the last version of an app, book, process, program, or project?
You. Me. We all have the choice.
Everybody’s Famous was a company I attempted to build a little more than a year ago. I made so many mistakes, but perhaps the biggest one was trying to do way too much with very little resources.
I just wasn’t satisfied with doing things small. I wanted to make it EXACTLY as I envisioned it, and I wanted it NOW. It seems my impatience and lack of foresight cost me money, momentum, and lots of time. Not good when you’re working on a strict budget.
I could list many more mistakes around this particular project, but the point is, they are very correctable mistakes.
Is Everybody’s Famous a failure? Depends on how it’s perceived and by whom.
But it never even got off the ground, and to me that means I’ve still got a shot to make it work. Maybe that means it doesn’t need to work exactly like my ideal vision of it works.
But in my mind, I have never given up on the idea, and just recently I started gearing up for another version of Everybody’s Famous.
And that means that I will have to do it SMALL. Very small.
Doing It Small
Sometimes I can get lost in epic visions, lofty ideas, and big goals. It’s easy for me to do.
But I’m reminded that even the biggest things are made up of the smallest things. As big as the earth is, it wouldn’t even exist without the tiniest of atoms holding it all together.
Big things are made up of little things.
And the idea is so easy to get. You want something big? Well, it’s made of of even smaller things. And those small things? They’re made up of even tinier things.
And so on and so forth.
One small focused action a day, incrementally, can lead to the greatest of accomplishments.
One small act is a big deal.
The greatest of all baseball players began their journey with a simple game of catch.
The best actors in the world played the smallest of roles in the beginning, even if they were just messing around with their friends.
One of the defining moments of the Civil Rights movement was a simple act of taking a seat on a bus.
One small act. And then another, and another. And pretty soon, you’ve got a book. Or you’ve arrived at a destination you once longed for. Or you built a business called Microsoft. Or you received your first industry award. Or be the man or woman you’ve always wanted.
Whatever it is, no matter how far out of reach it seems, one small step will get you closer. Yes, progress may seem imperceptible and completely unnoticeable, but this cumulative approach will result in a new destination and the fulfillment of your destiny.
It always works. The Tortoise always beats the Hare.
I’ve been kinda busy lately. I have a few web projects I’m working on, but my main project right now is finishing up my new book. I haven’t announced it on Wake Up Smiling yet, so you get a sneak peak at the new cover.
Thanks to you all for watching me take these tiny steps. It may not seem like I’m progressing (especially if you’re looking at that bank account), but I am learning everyday from my mistakes and all the insights I gain from taking steps into the unknown.
Oh, and I will hit my mark.
Paul “Doin’ it small y’all” Campillo