When you feel like a Big Fat Failure

Take two minutes and read this excerpt from Mike Mason’s book: Practicing the Presence of People. After you’re done consider getting the book, and allow yourself the freedom to practice and fail.

“This openhanded, teachable attitude is what is implied in the word practice. Inherent in this word is the freedom to experiment, to try and try again with limitless humility to fail. Practice makes perfect, but the practice itself is not perfect. Practice is a patient, relaxed process of finding out what works and what doesn’t. Practice leaves plenty of room for making mistakes; indeed mistakes are taken for granted. In practice it goes without saying that any success is only the fruit of many failures. Hence the failure is as important as the success, for the one could not happen without the other.

Many people (and pastors, emphasis mine) avoid practice  because of the fear of failure. Perfectionists have the mistaken idea that something is not worth doing if they cannot look good by getting it right the first time. For the perfectionist, any misstep is an unpleasant and embarrassing surprise. But for a humble person, the surprise is getting it right. Humility expects trial and error and so rejoices all the more at success. Humility is always being surprised by grace.

Either life is practice or it is performance. It cannot be both. Do you love surprises, or do you prefer to stay in control? Are you a professional at life or an amateur? Do you live spontaneously and experimentally for the sheer love of it? Or are you an expert who takes pride in being right about everything? Would you rather be right than happy?

None of us can be perfect. But everyone can be free. Which will you choose?”

Get the book. Read the book. Practice and fail. Be free.

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2 comments

  1. Garris Elkins’s avatar

    I “amen” this on a personal level and also want to be the kind of leader that releases this to those on my leadership team. Thanks.

  2. Dave Jacobs’s avatar

    This principle should travel in all directions.

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