For most of us at least. So, two questions to think about.
The first one: Does it help?
It’s so easy to judge ourselves (and others) by our worst mistake. After all, we are our own worst critics. But does satisfying the critics make the work better? Does it make the fear go away? Does beating ourselves up, day after day, make us a better human being?
Of course not.
So why do we judge ourselves this way? Why do we insist that this is how life should be measured?
This is all part of the internal narrative of not ever feeling quite good enough.
Sometimes this guilt we feel can motivate us to do better next time. “I failed and next time I’ll do better.”
But when that guilt turns to shame, and often it does, it subverts us from being the person we were born to be. It subverts us from doing our best work, to try things that might fail, to do work that matters.
Shame says, “I am a failure.”
Deep down, we are all afraid. We are afraid of the responsibility that comes with power and freedom. “I don’t want to mess up again.”
But failure doesn’t have to be the trigger that sends us into a downward cycle. We can instead learn from our failures to have a higher quality of life. We can learn to make better art. We can learn to make things better by making better things.
And use that for fuel for the next adventure.
The one who fails the most wins.
The second question I’ll leave here for you to ponder is this: How come it’s so difficult to think of the best thing you’ve ever done?