Maria is a friend of mine who is an obsessive perfectionist. She’s someone who doesn’t tolerate failure, who gags at the very thought of it. And when she has experienced failure, her way of dealing with it is to believe she’s a loser.
She does everything in her power to avoid risk, believing that planning everything to the last detail will help prevent any mistakes. For certain things (anything that is repetivite and predictable), she’s right. But anything that has a degree of uncertainty, oftentimes she’s wrong.
The more unpredictable the outcome, and unrepetitive the process, the more likely you are to be wrong. That’s not a problem with competence, rather it’s a thinking problem. You see, you have to shift from thinking you have the answers to asking new questions. You have to shift from repeating the same routine to experimenting with a new one.
Because you don’t know.
So, Maria, just because you’re wrong doesn’t mean you’re a loser. In fact, a winner is a loser who kept trying, who never gave up. Anyone who is elite at what they do, athletes, entertainers, scientists, CEO’s, entrepreneurs, all learn to live with the fear of failure. They understand that failure and improvement are inseparable twins. You won’t improve if you don’t make mistakes.
Bottom line: No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you are still way ahead of anyone who isn’t trying.