Error Can Be the Opportunity that Changes Your World

There has to be room for error, because error can be the opportunity that changes your world.

Aidan dancing with abandon
This photo turned out blurry, but I still like its movement and colours.

I thought about that this morning after I drifted off for a couple of minutes while I sat in front of my full-spectrum SAD lamp. I was worried that maybe the therapy wouldn't be as effective today because of it. What was enough time with the lamp to fight this winter depression? 15 minutes? 20? Did it matter that my eyes were closed?

And then I realized that if two minutes with my eyes closed was enough to mean failure to me, then I was too rigid. If my plan for happiness didn't allow for a cat nap, then I was doomed for failure not because of the cat nap but because of my own inflexibility.

That which doesn't bend, breaks, and my happiness cannot rest on such a fine line. There has to be room for bending outside the lines, testing boundaries, stretching legs. There has to be room for error as an accepted part of the complete whole, for error to be better than failure, for it to be possibility, even opportunity.

Alexander Fleming didn't properly clean up his workstation before he went on vacation in 1928. A fungus grew there, killing off nearby bacteria, and a powerful new drug, penicillin, was born, changing medicine forever.

Error is the variety, the adventure, the organic mess that turns the fine line between success and failure, one often ridden with white-knuckled anxiety, into a broader and bending course that not only keeps us whole but also sustains and inspires growth.

Error can be breathing room, flexibility, adventure, and discovery. Error can be the opportunity that changes your world.

And as for the error that was my accidental cat nap today? It resulted in a new poem.


PS. Seth Godin, coincidentally, posted a piece today about the power in showing your faulty humanity, "Effortless", that I read after writing this. There must be something in the air.