Over at my FMP blog, I’m starting a series on improving stories you’ve written, using one of my own stories as an example. As a writer, I’ve felt what a lot of us do: IT’S HARD TO LOOK BACK AT THINGS I DID IN THE PAST WITHOUT ASKING, “HOW COULD I DO SOMETHING THAT BAD?” The thing is, often the story was the best I could do. I’ve learned more since then. I’ve moved on as a person.
We as individuals, families, nations, and humanity have things we don’t like in our past. But we’re better off not trying to hide our mistakes and missteps.
If we hide our mistakes, we increase risks and lose opportunities. We may fall prey to the same mistakes again. And, because we’re using attention and energy to cover them up, we have to split our focus. Splitting our focus decreases our ability to move forward and increases the probability that we miss other mistakes. We lose opportunities because, if we’re hiding our mistakes, we can’t learn from them.
When we own up to our mistakes, we gain the opportunity to examine them, to learn from them, and (hopefully) not repeat them.
When we look back at our mistakes, we may be embarrassed by them. If we tried to cover them up, we will be embarrassed by them. If we learned from them, we can say, “Yeah, we screwed up. But look how far we’ve come since!”
Recognizing our mistakes, learning from them, and putting them behind us helps us to move forward. We can become better and achieve more.
As humans, we are able to learn from the mistakes of others. We can learn from the stories we hear. People in the past have done some messed up stuff. But we can look back and see how far we’ve come. We can learn what mistakes they made and why they made them. Then we can avoid those mistakes ourselves.
When we try to cover up the past, when we try to erase it, we put all those mistakes back into play. We make ourselves vulnerable to mistakes we didn’t have to make. When we cover them up, it’s that much harder to avoid them.
Yes, people in the past have screwed up and caused a lot of suffering and hatred. Yes, we make mistakes and that ain’t good. When we cover those things up, we allow history to repeat itself. When we examine those mistakes and learn from them, we are that much closer to not making them ourselves.
That’s it for this one dear reader. I’m off to pick apart one of my stories, so I can learn from it and make it better. See you next post.