Updated: Jan 6, 2021
Have you ever been at a stage in life where you know exactly what you need to do to turn your life around but you just can’t bring yourself to do it? You feel demotivated, afraid or just exhausted at the thought of making that change happen? Is 2020 still shitting on you as well?
Go easy on yourself. I am standing right where you are and I’m not here to tell you to take the risk. Please, DO NOT TAKE RISK. I’m actually here to tell you that you need to make mistakes. Yes, multiple calculated well-researched MISTAKES.
You see, I could simply say that failures are stepping stones to success. But you won’t get it. You have heard it far too many times and frankly you don’t care but no matter how corny, it’s the reality. I need to make mistakes because they are proof of me doing anything. They tell me what doesn’t work. They are the biggest lessons we learn while trying to reach success. But boy, do we hate mistakes…
In the current times of Black Mirror, where I’m constantly exposed to only the perfect side of people where everything is great, everyone is hustling hard and looking good doing it…I just don’t have it in me to move forward. Why would I? There’s already so many people doing the great things. I would never be able to be that perfect. Of-course not…But only because I never tried. I never tried because I knew it’s not going to be a success at first attempt. Or second. Or even third.
On a Sunday, scrolling through my phone mindlessly while loathing myself for wasting time and not doing anything meaningful. I saw this photo of Bruce lee.
It reminded me of something that a friend of mine said to me a long time ago:
You have an adult and child inside you. The adult is highly alert, conscious and protective of the child while the child is dying to go play, experience, experiment. The adult is not letting the child have any experience at all, making it afraid and stagnant…I think it's high time that the adult let go of the child’s hands. Encourage the child and tell her, “Go play. Make mistakes. I’m here for you if you need me. You will be okay.”
It doesn’t make sense how this has anything to do with Bruce lee, does it? You see, if we don’t have any experiences in the fear of making mistakes, we stay in the same place. We stagnate like a pond, but experiences make us flow like a river. They move us forward; they make us stronger. And that’s what my homie Bruce lee’s been saying. Be water.
And then suddenly it wasn’t like a thousand bulbs lighting up on top of my head. Only a small change. I decided that I am going to make mistakes. I told myself that the starting few years of reaching my goal will be just mistakes and no success. So, I have literally zero expectations from myself. I did however decide that I will make only affordable mistakes. The question was, how?
It was around this time I came across this podcast by Tom Ross and Mike Janda. I highly recommend all of their content but one of their episodes led me to a set of questions I wanted to ask myself before attempting to do anything for my goal.
What steps need to be taken to reach closer to the goal?
What is the worst-case scenario if I take this step?
Can I live with that?
Can I recover from that?
How to do it? (Research)
What positive impact can this step bring if successful?
What could go wrong?
More often than not I noticed that when I answer the second question, I’m already feeling much better about taking action than I did before. Because I know that the worst-case scenario isn’t as bad at all.
Applying these questions to every decision of mine helped me in two ways. I was no longer worried about the worst-case scenario anymore. I mostly just end up asking myself:
The biggest fog of self-doubt and fear being cleared off from my head lead me to immediate action. I wrote a list of everything I needed to do. Calculated and measured steps. Most of which involved minor to no risk. I was left with no more excuses. Just mistakes or success. Guess what? I’m fine either way.
Mistakes became an addiction for the value they were providing. Of course, Success is way sweeter but I have welcomed mistakes with joy as they make me more and more experienced in what I do. They actually make me do something rather than nothing at all. And now look, I finally have published this blog post that I have had in my head for so long…and you’re reading it and loving it! Yes, yes you are!
So, go ahead. Start making affordable mistakes so you don’t stagnate.
Sincerely, Jayshree Sridhar