I Love It When You Screw Up

WTF ?!?
WTF Are You Talking About?!?
That’s what the look on her face said.
I could tell she was tired. So I repeated it again.
“You don’t have to go down that far.”
“But I’m doing overhead squats!”
I love her, but she wasn’t doing overhead squats.
To be honest I wasn’t sure what she was doing.

I love it when you screw up mindfitmove

The Woes of CrossFit
Let me back up. This all happened the other day at Crossfit. I finished my workout and went over to cheer my partner on.

When I got to where she was lifting she seemed to be doing a kind of mini thruster. She would dip half way into a squat and then come up and do a shoulder press. That day we had to do 50 overhead presses and 50 front squats.

I thought she was doing overhead presses, but she was squatting down really far. So I told her she didn’t need to dip that far. That’s when she said she was doing overhead squats. I tried to explain the mix up to her, but it didn’t seem to help.

After a short discussion she realized her error. She had been doing an extra shoulder press with each front squat. She looked defeated.

Almost everyone in class was done or close to it.  She still had several reps to go.

I stayed with her and encouraged her to keep going. She made it to the end. But I could tell she felt stupid making that mistake.

We were able to laugh about it later, but I realized there was a valuable lesson in the experience.

Aaaaawk –warrrrd.
Grace is something most of us value. As a kid being awkward is painful.

You can be a nerd, a band geek, even an outcast, but if you’re awkward it’s the worst. So we spend much of our time trying to be smooth and cool.

This all adds up to a strong desire to do things perfectly and to never let anyone see you make a mistake.

Mistakes Help
The problem is that mistakes help us. If we are not making some mistakes, we are not learning. When we go for it we’re bound to stumble and fall. We may even embarrass ourselves in front of other people. But that’s ok.

Making mistakes helps us see we have veered off the path. That way we can get back on track.

It also releases our fear of screwing up. We see that making a mistake isn’t that bad. We didn’t die and often no one even notices.


The Value Of Mistakes

But our mistakes can also be a great asset to us. For example in the world of photography mistakes have led to great works of creativity. Take for example Jill Greenberg’s Monkey portraits. The artists reports in several interviews that she took the pictures by mistake. She was doing some client work and just liked the attitude of the monkey. And it led to an amazing series of portraits admired by photographers all around the world.


Just look at this picture for example. It shows so much of personality of the monkey all while still holding Jill’s unique way of lighting and painting the subject. She makes the monkey seems both very human and at the same time very clinical. The background reminds one of any studio portraiture and yet the personality elevates the subject to the realm of the human and maybe even further to the divine.

And yet this picture never would have taken place. Had it not been for Jill’s mistake. She executes her technique with great skill and clearly by this picture and the others in the series has a plan, but she’s also open to something random and new.

Ms. Greenberg went on to try other bold projects like that of End Times a series of works that depicts children crying. This project went on to get her in trouble with many people because well she made kids cry.

But much of her success has been due to the fact that she is willing to take risks.

Whether or not you feel that these pictures depict art or cruelty her boldness has served her well.

Disclaimer: No girlfriends were harmed in the writing of this post.

You Can Read My Partners Blog Wordsavant by clicking here. 

Photo Credits