We’ve all made errors. As much as we hate to admit it, errors often lurk in our past attempting to keep us from creating our absolute best art. Novelist James Joyce once said:
A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.
In order to overcome excessive obsession with our errors, we have to learn how to transition our mistakes into opportunities. In his book, The Musicians Way, Gerald Klicstien shares three assets of making errors:
1. Errors Are Not Failures – Failure is a lasting loss. Errors are not permanent unless we give them permission to be so. As much as errors try to be more than errors, we have to keep them in perspective.
2. Errors Are Not Shameful – Errors only become shameful if we allow them to live with us and do not move past them. Shame says that we’ve placed our value in our art and not in who we’ve been created to be. When we believe our errors change our value or cause us to be inferior, we’ve forfeited our true identity for a counterfeit. Errors tells us what we need to learn, not who we are or who we should be. We need to use our errors to make us better.
3. Errors Are Information – Once we move past the emotion and negativity of an error, we can then clearly see that errors provide data. Errors, in their natural form, have no emotion – but as artists, we often project emotion on our errors. When this happens, we devalue the data that is waiting to be discovered.
As artists, we tend to agonize over our mistakes rather than using them to make ourselves better. We need to make sure that we’re leveraging our errors, not giving them strongholds over our lives, emotions, or ability to produce. We are more than our errors or successes.