Here at LV we talk often about owning up to your faults and taking the blame. But what about the times when you are blamed unfairly? When you are shamed for things you could not control?
Whatever went wrong, you are suddenly staring up at a blinding spotlight and everyone is looking at you for an apology and an explanation of why you messed up so badly.
You’re okay with taking the blame when it is due. You are proactive and take ownership and are open about your flaws. But this is blown waaay out of proportion.
It recently hit me how much pain we each endure in a lifetime. Even wonderful streaks in life can be dwarfed by the loss of a loved one, major disappointments, or prolonged illness.
I couldn’t help but wonder where I could be right now without mercy and huge helping of growth.
Surely nowhere good.
It’s such a temptation to curate your own image. To manipulate your role as projectionist: portraying only the best side while hiding the worst.
Where does that path lead? In the short term, it’s a get out of jail free card. An escape from an embarrassing situation. A way to save face and prevent judgment.
In the long term, it leads to the realization you are a phony. Lacking authenticity.
Incapable of being yourself.
Mistakes expose gaps between expectations and reality. Making them leads to breakthroughs and success which are otherwise hidden. Imagine all which were made while discovering modern common principles of art, engineering, math, music, physics, and technology.
Willingness to make mistakes is unavoidable on the path to growth.
So why are we afraid to make them?
Western culture rewards results — as fast as possible, the more the better. Existing successful strategies are less risky, because they produce results. New strategies are a big risk. So is research and experimentation. It wastes valuable time on the unknown when you could be achieving results now.
This is one theory, anyway. Let’s try another.
Have you ever become defensive when criticized? It is rare to see a man accept and process criticism instead of defending his actions. Instead, it is very common to see him defend himself to protect his dignity.
I’ve done the latter many times, only to realize one thing: It didn’t help me one bit. It only made me unwilling and unable to learn from what others noticed. It only made me sure I was right and blind to my need for improvement.
I previously saw criticism as an attack on my self worth. Recently, though, I am trying to find the counsel hidden within criticism.