The Art of Turning Every Mistake Into a Win
A disappointment is simply an opportunity for growth
I just paid $14 for a bag of dirt. It’s not the end of the world but it’s also not ideal for a full-time artist living off the support of patrons and, well, Medium claps.
It happened so quickly. I didn’t check the price before the shopkeeper loaded it into the back of the car and all of a sudden I was handing over 26 bucks for one shiny blue pot and a bag of dirt. Apparently that’s what you get when you decide to buy garden supplies at a bougie plant shop in the middle of Hollywood.
Historically, I haven’t had a great relationship with money — it always seems to go out faster than it comes in — but I’ve been working really hard to change that. Or so I thought until I spent $14 on something that comes from the ground for free. As I drove away, I started beating myself up. You know better. You should have driven the extra couple miles to Home Depot. You’ll never make it here, kid; you’re going to have to move back to Canada and sling beer for tips for the rest of your life. The usual.
Before the shame spiral could pick up enough speed to swirl on its own, I halted my thoughts. No, Kelly. This is not what we do anymore. And then I employed the simple trick I use to turn any negative experience into a positive one.
I’m never going to stop making mistakes. That’s the reality of being human.
First, I accept that I’m never going to stop making mistakes. That’s the reality of being human. As long as I’m living an interesting life, taking risks, and putting myself in new situations, I will continue to buy $14 bags of dirt. Metaphorically speaking.
Next, since I can’t avoid making mistakes, I remind myself that the purpose of a mistake is to learn from it, not to slip into the thought spiral of doom where all my hopes and dreams go to die. Fixating on the misspent money and beating myself up over it only serves to reinforce my insecurity and distract me from the present moment.
I am most likely to make a mistake when I’m feeling insecure or I’m not focused on the present moment. Usually it’s both. I listen to the story in my head that tells me I’m…