I had a student a few years ago that was used to doing everything perfectly. For the first few months in the class, she never made a single mistake. Then, on one test, she made her first mistake and lost one mark. She had a difficult time accepting that she was not perfect on this test and was very upset. She was used to perfect results and was unable to accept anything less. She had never had the experience of learning from mistakes. She hadn’t had to learn to pick herself up because she rarely had fallen!
In my experience, when students have a lot of confidence, they often fail to try, when given work that really challenges them. If they can’t solve a problem perfectly, they leave their paper blank, sometimes erasing a solution that was on the right track. Being partially correct is much better than leaving your paper completely blank! Make it your goal to never leave a question unanswered so you demonstrate that you have made your best effort. Realize that you are not perfect, but do your best to stick with every challenging problem and never give up. This is the proper balance you need for success.
It is important to know that everyone is gifted with certain talents. You will naturally be better at certain subjects that others. Do your best in every class, even though you will most likely enjoy doing those things you have talent for. Keep in mind that others will not be as talented or passionate as you are in your areas of strength, nor you in theirs. Build confidence from your strengths and humility from your weaknesses. Let the rain make you enjoy the sunshine a little bit more.
The bible says, “God’s power is made perfect in your weakness.” Let your weaknesses remind you to be thankful for your strengths. There is more room for you to grow in areas of weakness, look for the positive in your opportunities to learn. It seems we are meant to depend on others for help in our areas of need and to offer our assistance in our areas of strength.
So, perhaps you should strive for perfection in your areas of strength. At the same time, realize you will never be perfect. You will make mistakes, so decide ahead of time to quickly forgive yourself and get on with extracting the benefit from each one. Talent is not enough, since you still need to develop your talents by making your best effort to work at improving them every day. Life would indeed be boring if you had nothing to work at each day!
How do you allow for mistakes, while making sure to demand your best effort each day? How do you demonstrate that you have made a serious attempt to solve a difficult problem? Thanks for reading!