Last week I was at the gym doing box jumps. You basically jump on a wooden box and then step down and do it over. I’ve done it many times. Thousands of times, most likely. But this day, I was jumping a little higher than usual, and I caught my toe. I fell and landed on both of my shins.
I had a bruise and a cut instantly. In about three minutes, I had a softball size bruise on my shin. It was ugly.
I was so angry at myself. I have jumped on boxes hundreds of times. I went to the gym that morning like any other morning. There wasn’t any thing different about that morning. Nothing in my previous successful jumps would have predicted that I would fail that morning.
Sometimes we do things right hundreds of times. And sometimes, on the thousand time, we screw up. We fail. We catch our toe or shin, and are left with a painful bruise.
We tend to focus on our one misstep. Not the thousands of right ones, but the one we miss.
We work hard to develop our skills, hone our strengths, become good at our jobs, and care for our loved ones. We often do something right 1000 times and screw up on number 1001.
We can do two things when we screw up. We can focus on it, perseverate on it, and beat ourselves up. Or we can use it as a learning moment. A moment to stop. We can use it as a reset.
Sometimes our muscles are fatigued. Or we are distracted. And we make a mistake. We are human, after all. And the fact that we’ve done something right for years doesn’t mean we won’t screw it up sometime in the future.
The older I get, the more I shrug off any idea of perfection. I am far from perfect. Even in areas I succeed, I am going to fail.
I am going to bruise myself and make mistakes. The more I jump, the more likely it is I’m going to miss some steps.
It’s ok to fall every now and then.