eRipples: a FREE weekly splash of inspiration
version 2.25 [Monday, June 19, 2000]
Learn from the mistakes of others.
You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
original source unknown, submitted by Maureen Colburn
We are all imperfect.
What we need to achieve is the courage to accept imperfection. This is
one of the most encouraging concepts, and yet one of the hardest to achieve
in our society. There isn’t a perfect human being in the world, yet
everyone is demanding it of themselves and others. We set ourselves up for
disappointment and frustrations because of this impossible ideal of
perfection. Improvement, yes. Perfection, no.
In our society we are taught to be ashamed of mistakes. We should instead
learn to be excited about mistakes as opportunities to learn. It is much
easier to recognize and take responsibility for a mistake when it is seen
as a learning opportunity rather than something bad. If we see mistakes as
bad we tend to feel inadequate and discouraged and to become defensive,
evasive, judgmental, and critical. On the other hand, when mistakes are
seen as opportunities to learn, recognizing them will be seem like an
exciting venture. “What can I learn from this mistake”.
-submitted by: Margaret Sweeney, original source:
one of Margaret’s co-workers
In addition to spending three days with an awesome group of adult educators
in Bozeman, Montana, I also spent a couple of days this week with a very
fun bunch of school administrators from Racine, Wisconsin. Both groups
spent a bit of time discussing role models, and upon my return home from
the hectic week I plopped down in front of the TV and clicked upon a
documentary about one of my role models, John Denver. It was exciting to
learn about his path from the son of an Air Force pilot to a hit singer.
It was also quite disturbing to hear about his shadow side and I went to
bed thoroughly frustrated with his actions toward his wife and children as
well as the inconsistencies between his idealized songs and his imperfect
I woke up the next morning remembering a definition that I had shared both
in Bozeman and Racine: a role model is somone who has SOMETHING you
admire, not necessarily EVERYTHING! I suppose it would be grand to believe
in these flawless heros who have affected our society. The danger is that
those pedestals make them seem so much removed from us “regular” folks.
Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Eleanor
Roosevelt all had something in common besides being heroes of mine. They
were HUMAN! They made errors of judgment at times and that does not have
to detract from their incredible achievements!
Spend some time this week being more patient with your imperfection. You
are in good company!