When I was 14, I marched into the house with my report card, tossed it in front of my mom, and waited for her to gasp and the column of perfect grades: A, A, A, A, A, A. But after a silent speed read, my mom glanced up and said: “Hey Lauren, this is great! But maybe next semester, let yourself get a C in something.”
I’ve always been a perfectionist. Like a Type A, anxiety-prone, neurotic mess when things don’t go my way, nut job perfectionist. Maybe you can relate to this feeling. Maybe the thought of screwing up at work can keep you from sleeping at night or a performance review with any semblance of constructive criticism makes your stomach churn. Or maybe the idea of an off-center Instagram post can ruin your week.
Mistakes, right? Nothing like making one to ruin a perfectly good day. So we do our best to never let them happen.
We know nobody’s perfect, and yet we’re a culture that’s chronically afraid to make mistakes. And more than anything, we fear what other people will think if they see us mess up now and again. We think anything is better than letting them see you fail.