May 09, 2013

Success as a Habit of Grace

Years ago, my husband and I talked about what was necessary for success. Whether it's about cooking, fixing a car, painting a masterpiece, exercising patience, or mowing a lawn, there are elements they hold in common. I need knowledge, skills, time, and consistent choices in line with a desire.

There is another element, one my husband said was essential: you have to be willing to screw it up beyond all recognition.

I agree with him.

It is possible to learn something, even become good at it, without failing. Mastery of anything, though, requires a willingness to experiment, to fail spectacularly. True genius and genius of expression requires that I have grace for myself. Without the option of mistakes, the skill becomes about effort and control: limiting my expression instead of freeing it. Failing is a chance to learn new things. Failure is not a final judgment on my abilities. -If I make the same mistake over and over, I need to do a better job of learning. A bird that falls from the nest is not barred from flying; a bird that cannot fly finds alternatives (swimming or running, perhaps).

Today I began a new aspect of writing. I'm excited about it, but cautious, since I haven't done it before. Only time will tell if my gifts are a good match for this need. In the meantime, I'm reminding myself that success isn't about perfection or control. Success is about willing to fail.

Success is about grace.

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