Have you heard the term ‘safe space? In the corporate world, it means creating an environment where everyone is free to contribute ideas without the fear of being lambasted by others about being wrong, stupid, or lacking in knowledge/experience. Writer’s groups promote the same concept.
It’s a nice concept but doesn’t it make the general act of offering ideas sound treacherous? In the world of ideation, is operating outside of a safe space dangerous?
Also, as small businesses, we don’t have that safe space for exploration; our ideas, suggestions, quotes, and work are not free from the consequences of someone else’s opinion. Getting it wrong can mean losing a job or a client, or a piece of your reputation.
But we do get it wrong because we’re fallible humans, and we make mistakes, every single one of us, significantly more when we’re growing.
So if the safe space doesn’t exist and we will make mistakes, the most logical course of action is to snuggle up to our errors and accept a certain amount of being wrong without losing the will to carry on, or without losing a piece of ourselves along the way.
To help us all in this endeavour, me included, to take more from our mistakes than we lose, I’ve rounded up a selection of quotes from some of my favourite people to add some inspiration to the otherwise painful process of getting it wrong.
Ricky Carmichael – Motocross Champion
Tough but fair! I love this idea. If we are too forgiving of our mistakes, we’ll continue to make them but allowing one opportunity to err and learn sounds like a good plan.
- That is why error, even though it sometimes feels like despair, is actually much closer in spirit to hope. We get things wrong because we have an enduring confidence in our own minds; and we face up to that wrongness in the faith that, having learned something, we will get it right the next time.
Here’s a merry sentiment to put you in a good mood and transfer the despair of feeling like you should have known better to the hope that you will next time.
Kathryn Schulz – Pulitzer Price winning author
- Perhaps the history of the errors of mankind, all things considered, is more valuable and interesting than that of their discoveries.
Benjamin Franklin – Polymath, philosopher, writer and founding father of the United States
Valuable and interesting sounds like a good reason to face the prospect of erring in your adventures and another discovery in Schulz’s book.
- Failing is a crucial part of success. Every time you fail and get back up, you practice perseverance, which is the key to life. Your strength comes in your ability to recover.
Michelle Obama – Lawyer, Writer, Inspirational Speaker and Former First Lady
There’s a warrior quality to this mindset; a call for the brave and bold who know they’ll get a little dust on their chin in the hustle. Turning despair to strength.
- The next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.
Stephen Hawking – Theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and philosopher
With his typical good nature, Stephen reminds us that we are all, in some way, great mistakes ourselves.
- My teacher said to me, ‘If you’re going to fail, fail gloriously.’ I’ve never forgotten it. You learn a lot from your mistakes. You have to take risks and make mistakes. It’s terrifying, but it’s the only way you will learn and improve.
Cate Blanchett – Actress, producer and theatre director
Going large with your mistakes; another warrior principle.
While we’re tired of religious figures excusing their behaviours, there is an inescapable truth about being human, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Marie Curie – Polish scientist and Nobel prize winner.
Whether you’re in science or not, you know these are people who love to point out your errors; grammar nazi’s are one example, project gaslighters etc. It’s helpful to categorise negative feedback into two categories – constructive or not.
- I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.
Thomas Edison – Inventor and businessman
And this is one you’ve probably heard before but a nod to the importance of endurance and not turning back at your first mistake, even if you don’t have Ricky Carmichael’s strict regime.
Whether your last mistake was yesterday or a year ago, whether it was large or small, I hope this has inspired you to see yourself as a brave adventurer, ready for your next triumph, even at the cost of a mistake.
Thanks for reading.
I’m a freelance writer and content creator, sharing the adventures as I go along. If you’re interested in joining my monthly newsletter, where I share inspiring and helpful content, then sign up via the form below: