Last week I was learning a new software program. I started off first thing in the morning buoyed by excitement and the positive belief that I would succeed if I kept focused and my butt pinned to the chair. Eight hours later, with storm clouds of doubt, self-castigation, and frustration boiling around my head, I finally made the decision that in order to move forward, the best step would be to delete the work of the whole day. I needed to start over. I sat there with my finger poised over the delete button and feverishly wondered if there was any other alternative that I could figure out. But no, not that I could see. I pushed the button. And started over.
A few hours later, my aching neck brought me back to the present moment, and I looked at the time. It was almost midnight. I took my dog out for his evening stroll and looked up at the stars. I was tired, but I felt good about my progress.
I thought about how important it is to give ourselves credit, even after we have felt frustrated or upset about the mistakes we’ve made. I knew that millions of people could have zipped through this learning process faster than me, but what’s going to settle best is to feel confident about what I have accomplished today, even if I did mess up. And I smiled, yep, I really did mess up.
Learning and trying new things can be a real challenge, and when there’s a possibility of failure, it’s easy to give up beforehand and say nah, I can’t learn that, I can’t do that. But my world will shrink if I seek to avoid risk, and if I stop exploring new opportunities.
I think it’s far better to remember, no matter what challenge that I am taking on, that the storm clouds will pass, and so will the darkness of self doubt. Then if I care to look up, I will always find that lovely little patch of blue sky waiting for me.