I did something this evening that made me feel stupid. And then I did it again. Still stupid. Actually, I did it at least three times before I figured out how to correct the problem. Well, darn. I’m a smart woman. I really am. I made good grades in school. I figure things out pretty quickly. Most people who know me will tell you that I’m smart.
And yet I did something pretty stupid. Granted, it was related to household mechanics, which is not even remotely in my comfort zone. Granted, I was tired. Too tired to think through what I was doing, to be a bit more careful. Granted, “someone” should have explained the process a little better.
But there you go: I was tired, doing something outside my expertise, and neglected to get a full explanation, and I did something really stupid—three times.
And then I cleaned up the mess. I was too tired for that too, but there was no getting around it. It had to be cleaned up, or the consequences would make me feel “even more stupider.”
And then I figured it out. I figured out where my mistakes were and what I needed to do to accomplish the task. I did it. I got it done.
Still feel stupid. Still wonder what possessed me. And I feel stronger. The cleanup was hard work, especially for a tired person. And I feel disciplined. I didn’t want to clean up, but it needed to be done, and so I did it.
Winding down afterward, I listened to a talk by Seth Godin. He mentioned telling an employee that in a full five years, the employee had never failed at anything. Sounds like a compliment, right? Nope. Seth told him if he didn’t start failing soon, he’d be fired. And he meant it. Failing, you see, means we’re stretching, trying stuff we don’t really know how to do. Taking risks. It’s where we have to go for exploration, creativity, innovation. And, once we get over wondering how much more stupider we can possibly be, it’s downright fun.
Have all the fun you can. And let me know if you’ve done something stupid lately, especially if it turned out to be fun.