Run the Race
“Sometimes it's necessary and important to make mistakes, to fumble around and do something poorly so we can learn to do it better next time. No matter what we're doing or what we're learning, we have to start somewhere. Look back at the past. We learned by trying, stumbling, falling, getting back up, and trying again. We wouldn't be where we're at if we hadn't begun where we were.”
Melody Beattie (Journey to the Heart)
There was a clip on the news last night about a one-hundred-year-old, African American woman running a 100 meter race. About ten meters in, she fell flat on her face and cut a gash her chin. Instead of lying there, broken, she got up, went back to the start line, and ran the race again. She commented on the fall, saying, “You're going to have some set-backs. You don't let that stop you. Get up. Go again.” She ended up having the fastest time, and winning the race.
There's a lesson in there for all of us. Making mistakes is part of life; it's how we learn. It's frustrating, I'll admit, but necessary to building competence in any area, not the least of which is our ability to endure through frustration. Something I noticed about that hundred year old woman was the clarity of her mind. She had been a school teacher all her working life, and she was still sharp. Staying the course in the face of frustration, learning something new, and trying again helps us hold on to our healthy brain cells. Staying active, even when you're a century old, doesn't hurt either.
The myth of perfection is just that—it's a myth. We may enjoy perfection momentarily, but we don't live there. Perfection is like being on vacation in Bali—fabulous while you're there, but short lived. Then you go back to trial and error, learn a little more, get better, and slowly work your way up to one more moment of perfection. If you quit because you didn't do it right the first time—or the second or third—you'll never make it to Bali.
Melody Beattie concludes: “You may not always know the best way in the beginning, but if you keep trying, you'll quickly learn to tell when you're on track.” Keep trying. Get up, brush yourself off, and go again.
In the Spirit,