I like what Billie Jean King, the feminist tennis professional, had to say: “Be bold. If you’re going to make an error, make a doozey, and don’t be afraid to hit the ball.” Does the fear of making an error keep you from doing things you say are important to you?
Some folks can be almost paralyzed by their unwillingness to make a mistake. Most people might still be crawling on all fours if they had given up after the first attempt at standing! Instead we encourage babies to get up, and get up, and keeping getting up, until they master standing. Then we immediately begin encouraging walking. No one considers the falling down part of this experience a mistake…only part of the learning process.
In this society, many are raised to seek out the approval of others as the barometer of success. Certainly childhood is a time when this can be appropriate, however, simultaneously, it is important to teach children to approve of themselves. For adults, learning to approve of themselves is a necessity for growth AND for contentment, satisfaction and peace of mind. When you live by your most deeply held values, you increase your authenticity. This leads to greater self-esteem… and greater willingness to risk learning through making mistakes. You can afford it then because you have your own approval.
If you refrain from “hitting the ball” in life, you may miss some of life’s most rewarding experiences. If you are concerned more with how you will look to others, than how you feel about yourself, you may be frozen in inactivity.
Why not step up to the plate, keep your eye on the ball and swing? That’s the only way you can possibly hit a home run!
(c) Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, San Diego, CA.. All rights reserved worldwide.
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