The Merits of Screwing Up

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Has there ever been a time when you were told you were a screw up? I have this idea that there is another way to look at this thing called life that may or may not be helpful to you. It is that life is comprised of one screw up after another. Yes, you heard me right!

Oh, we don’t mean to but one way or another we do and in my case more times than you might imagine, especially earlier in my life. One of the biggest screw ups, if not the biggest I ever made was to spend too much of my time and too many years trying to please others so that they would like and accept me.

This one monumental screw up that sat like a dark cloud over my head for so many years was the main reason for a whole series of screw ups that followed over the first thirty-five years of my life. Yes, you heard me right, 35 years!

It all started with my father; doing things that I thought would please him, endear me to him. From my early

experiences with my dad it spread into other areas of my life in a variety of relationships, situations, even jobs as the years passed.

Boy did I ever screw up because of that one dysfunctional way of looking at life. But boy did I ever learn!

Yes, it finally dawned on me one stormy, rainy night, that this one ongoing monumental screw up was preventing me from clearly seeing what was in front of me, not to mention the umbrella, and was preventing me from finding my way to the person ‘I’ was truly meant to be, my own version of myself.

Woow, talk about insight!

My conclusion, progress and growth can come from our screw ups, if we are paying attention. We all have enough experience with screw ups to know that more often than not they make life difficult. This whole idea of life being difficult was of course tackled by Scott Peck in his ground breaking book; “The Road Less Traveled.” He went on to say that; “life is a series of problems.” He said too that; “what makes life difficult is that the process of confronting and solving problems is a painful one.”

So here is where paying attention to our screw ups becomes important. It is in the process of meeting and solving problems coming out of our screw ups that; “life has it meaning.” You see the problems created are what Scott Peck called; “the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. It is the problems that call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom.” It is only because of our efforts to solve the problems coming out of our screw ups that we grow mentally and spiritually.

All of this leads me to ask all of you; any screw ups in your life lately? I mean have you made any mistakes taken any missteps, made anybody really mad at you?

Well, of course you have; yelled at your kids, your wife, your husband, cost your employer money, run a red light, taken the wrong course at school, got drunk and drove a car, had an affair, failed in school, got fired, ate too much, drank too much, didn’t exercise enough, any sound familiar?

As well, there are the calculated risks often associated with moving our careers forward that we take, sometimes with disastrous results. Or forgetting to keep our lives in balance; emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and physically with oftentimes disastrous results. I mean we can really screw up!

When I came face-to face with the reality of my monumental screw up so long ago now and told myself the truth about what I had been doing all those years and than took responsibility for it, my attitudes and behaviour began to slowly change as I began to strike out in a direction that was much more congruent with what I valued and with what my needs were. I began to put myself first, understand not at the expense of others but because I knew and realized that I could not be of any genuine use or support to others until I first took care of myself, got my own house in order.

So, your new mantra moving forward is that unintentionally screwing up is okay just as long as there is some learning and sometimes even substantial learning in it for you.

And we must be willing to risk screwing up for the opportunities that are often presented to us.

One of the ironies in all of this is that we pour so much energy into not screwing up and in the process probably miss many opportunities for personal growth.

So don’t be afraid to screw up, to fail at something, ain’t no gain without the pain!

After all this time, all these years of living, I’ve for sure learned one thing and that is no matter how many screw ups I own, life has been worth living and continues to still be worth living, and I can honestly say that I am living successfully as a result of or in spite of my screw ups. I have a few regrets as I am sure most all of us do but overall I am content with the life I have led. After all I found my way to here doing exactly what I should be doing……. How about you?

Embrace your humanness, screwing up is a part of it.