Don't Fear Mistakes
by Cynthia Sue Larson
September 4, 2000

When I was growing up, I used to be a perfectionist. I tried to do everything as perfectly as possible, to the point that I exasperated my sister, who called me "the good sister". I didn't understand at that time why people would be so upset if I was only trying to do my best... but now that I'm older and wiser, I see that people are often charmed by those who make mistakes, and are willing to admit it.

I used to think that experts don't make mistakes, that they were experts because they don't make mistakes. If you can visualize Martha Stewart taking a collapsed souffle out of the oven, or making a quilt whose edges weren't straight and it makes you laugh, then you know what I mean! Most people idolize experts, giving them respect precisely because they don't make mistakes.

Guess what? Even experts make mistakes. There is an old saying, "Good judgment comes from experience... and experience comes from bad judgment". We all need to try our wings at things, fall down, and try again. The most important thing to remember when we do fall down is that we can get up again -- so don't listen to those who tell you otherwise.

The story of a group of frogs traveling through the woods helps us to remember this important point. While the frogs were hopping along, two of them accidentally fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped ever higher, and finally made it out. When he escaped from the pit, the other frogs asked, "Didn't you hear us?"

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

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