You have probably heard at one time or another, things like “everyone makes mistakes”, “even the greatest make mistakes”, or “mistakes are all a part of the process”. If you are like some of us, this makes you just stare blankly at the person saying this. You know it is true, you appreciate that they are trying to make you feel better, but still…
Anyway, the truth is, comments like these are only part of the story. Mistakes, and Ballroom mistakes in particular, can be pretty glorious:
1. Mistakes can make stars
Have you ever seen a dancer fall or crash and come out of it with style, creativity or humor? Do you remember this as a mistake or evidence of an amazing dancer with an incredible personality? Check out the comments that are made on videos of amazing responses to mistakes and you will see the kind of awesome reputation that it can bring.
2. Mistakes can spark major creativity and development.
Look at ballroom dancing 20 or 30 years ago, and look at it now. There are clear differences. At one point these differences may have been considered mistakes because a move looked to be too much, too little or not quite right to some… but to others it set the next goal.
3. Paying attention to the mistakes that you see can save you some grief.
Seriously! If you see something that doesn’t work, you have actually learned something. But don’t get too smug. It is pretty certain that you teach others this way too, which is OK. It is all part of the balance of life.
4. If you don’t make any mistakes it is hard to claim that you really know what you are doing.
Making mistakes helps your brain pinpoint what you really need to do by a process of systematic elimination. If everything comes easy, then the risk is, this success is more of an accident than accomplishment.
5. All mistakes are not created equal.
There is the fledgling mistake that happens when “you do not know and can not do”; the sophomore mistake that happens when “you do know, but you can not do”, and the impetuous mistake that happens when “you know and can do, but for some reason you don’t”. This is important to know because you may think you are making a lot of mistakes, but if your mistakes progress – High Five! You will get past this soon and if the progress in your mistakes was steady, your mistake-free self will be pretty solid.
6. Mistakes make you calmer.
Consider how you would be if you never made a mistake. When you do make one, you would probably flip out a bit. It is much better to know and regularly experience the fact that after your mistake, you are still smart, lovable and ready to move on… and actually a lot better off for the experience.