The art of screwing-up


There is a skill which us very much underrated in life: screwing-up.

It is finally time for us to face this reality. Screwing-up is embedded in the constant flow of change that is life. In other words, to screw-up is inevitable and everybody will face it to a degree or another. Knowing that this is the case, it might be better to reach mistakes half-way through, rather than pretending we are spotless to then realising the contrary with brilliant timing.

I would take it even further. If life is an art, so is screwing up. And as it often happens with other arts, it should be taught in school. If we embrace this point of view, we can realise that screwing-up is something we can do better, smarter and with more purpose. with more purpose.

To try and stop this process of screwing-up it is not only no-sense, it is also likely to make things much worse we’ll inevitably make mistakes.

It is so easy in now-a-days lifestyles to feel the social pressure of trying to achieve more, get better, improve. At everything we do. All the time, At the end of the day, look at what all of our facebook friends are achieving as we are here speaking about mistakes!

I am firmly convinced that if we run away from our mistakes we are running away from our fragility. If we run away from our fragility we might lose one of the best chances we might have to understand ourselves in this work.

On a more mystical level, we might also lose chances to see how to get along in life, how to explore uncharted territories and ultimately how to have fun.

Now, how to put that into practice. I believe the first step would be to recognise that the process of making mistakes is actually very simple: we do something, we make mistakes, we learn. No big deal beyond our fear (I like this one!).

You might say “well Nick, it ain’t that easy!”. I agree, but let me stress a couple more points.

To master the art of screwing up we have first have to be very careful in selecting what we are willing to screw-up on. Secondly, we need to become extremely meticulous in our approach to making mistakes.

There is a huge variety of things that might matter in our lives (and that might indeed go wrong!). We might screw-up in all of them possibly. For some of those area, though, it might be very difficult to recover from mistakes. This applies, for example, to family, relationships and time with one’s self. One might screw-up a job and in ten years nobody will care. You will pay a high price, however, if you screw-up any type of relationship, including the one you have with yourself.

As it happens with many skills we want to develop in our lives, it is only by being extremely mindful with our approach that we can get better at those skills. Same thing with mistakes. For this is key to devote time to reflection.

Assume you’ve just started a course of studies which is not good for you, or that you moved to a city you don’t really love, or perhaps you might have made a major mistake in a job you care for. All of these things have to be seen as a source of learning. What is that went wrong really? Was it in your means to make things go differently? Did you try to push the circumstances to get something to satisfy an emotional need?

These are important questions that have two crucial impacts. They make us see things better for the next times (method) and they allow us to better understand our needs (self-knowledge).

Once this is learnt and we became able to understand the type of risks we take, how to manage them and especially to understand why we are taking them, we are in the position of knowing more and more how to push ourselves in situations that might challenge us and make us blossom. A bit like Batman on his first night out. Clear purpose and a sense of good will (It took him a while to become the Dark Knight anyway!).

And if at the end we will still screw-up, it is no big deal. It’s just a miskate.



  1. Pingback: Taking the leap, new writing experiments | Pensieri Fuori Forma

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s