Learning the Hard Way
"Mistakes are their own instructors."
An art curator in New York commissioned 400 artists, including my daughter Jeanne, to each make a painting that measured exactly two feet by two feet. He wanted to hang the paintings in a perfect grid formation in a large gallery. The show would be titled Size Matters.
After Jeanne completed her watercolor, she went to a special archival artists store and purchased a scalpel to her painting. Gingerly placing her steel ruler along the sides of the painting, she sliced through the heavy paper. Surprised at her dexterity, she carefully measured out 24 inches on each side of the painting, turned it twice again, and made two more cuts, along the pencil line she'd drawn.
Wow! I'm really good at this! Jeanne thought to herself. Totally relaxed, Jeanne felt her chest puff up with arrogance and pride in her work.
She turned the painting to make the final cut. Slice. The instant the scalpel left the paper, Jeanne realized she'd cut on the wrong side of the ruler, slicing off an inch-and-a-half too much of her precious painting. "Mom," she told me later, "It was the minute I felt that cocky arrogance that I made the disastrous mistake!"
Jeanne salvaged the painting by applying adhesive to both pieces and attaching muslin to the back. I am sure some people who saw Jeanne's creation in that art show noticed the thin line where the painting had been cut and glued. Perhaps some of them even thought it was the artist's humorous way of saying that size does matter.
Jeanne's struggle reminded me that once a mistake has been made, it doesn't pay to fret-it pays to fix it the best way you know how.
TODAY I WILL NOT FRET OVER ANY MISTAKES. I WILL REMIND MYSELF THAT THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEARNING, AND I WILL FIX THEM AS BEST I CAN.