What Do You Do When Things are Going Well?

I have never climbed a mountain.

photo credit: Paxson Woelber via creative commons

photo credit: Paxson Woelber via creative commons

I have seen people post pictures with a number written on it standing on top of a peak. It looks awesome. It looks like something I would like to do. With the exception of the announcement you are having a child I don’t believe there is another achievement where you announce to the world this way. I’m not hating at all, but it is funny to imagine someone purchasing a new car and writing down how many miles are on it and how much they paid for it and posting it on social media.

I believe it is important to recognize when we are at the top of the mountain. There have been times in my life where I didn’t enjoy the moment. I let anxiety take over and rob me of the joy a good moment will bring. I’m not talking about being in a good mood. It’s great when your football team wins and when you see a great movie but it’s not life altering. I’m referencing major positive life events. I have learned to embrace the moment because I have missed it in the past.

In the social media driven era there is sole attention paid to what you are doing right now. Nobody cares where you are going. We don’t put any thought into where you will be in five years we only care about where you are right now. If you are on top of the mountain good for you. If you are not than most people do not care.

My big worry when things are going well is trying not to mess up. I remember talking with a good friend of mine a few years ago and I asked, “I wonder when I will look back on a year and not be embarrassed by the amount of mistakes I made?” It was a rare moment for me to open up and to my surprise he completely agreed with me. I have realized this is something we all struggle with to some degree. In time I have gotten better at dealing with mistakes and most of the issues I dealt with had to do with maturity and growing up, but one key item I have learned is mistakes don’t stop. It’s not fine to make terrible decisions over and over again but we are going to mess up and we shouldn’t expect perfection from ourselves. I get used to this way of thinking. I get used to believing I am perfect. I think I’m smart enough to not make a mistake. This way of thinking will set you up for failure and rob you of the joy good moments in life bring.

A huge realization which has come to me in the last few years is a minor mistake doesn’t knock you off the mountain. If you don’t handle the mistake well it will absolutely push you off the edge. Life is about making mistakes and learning from them. At work I pride myself in not making the same mistake twice. I don’t always learn the first time. However, striving to learn from my mistakes not just verbally but mentally helps in a tremendous way.

The world is not begging for perfect people. The world begs for genuine people to talk about their shortcomings. Who would ever want to read a story about someone who had every break go their way and led a successful life? It would be the worst story of all time. We love to see people overcome the odds. We love to hear about someone who grew up in a bad neighborhood with no money be the first pick in a draft. We love the story of Mark Cuban sleeping on the floor of an apartment in his 20s and now being a multi-millionaire throwing around money on Shark Tank. We love the end result of these stories but we gloss over what makes them interesting.

My encouragement to you is this: Enjoy major life moments and don’t live attempting not to make a mistake.