Learning from Mistakes & The Power of Imperfection

Many of you who attend my classes regularly know that I am a massive fan of imperfection and making mistakes. Yes, that’s right, I encourage you to give up the idea of being perfect and acknowledging that you will make mistakes. Not only that, but I think making mistakes is possibly the most powerful learning tool, as illustrated by this video. 

Imperfection and real-growth and learning work together, I don’t think you can have one without the other. When everything we learn is secondhand learning from other people, we have to rely on the people who teach us to be perfect and have perfect knowledge, and no one is perfect. When we see no one is perfect, we can question what others have taught us. Not for the sake of being rebellious or being difficult, but because we can see what others have taught us is not working as in the video above. 

Now, this does not mean that these people were evil or trying to harm us, no, usually just the opposite. Most of humanity is ‘spiritually asleep,’ and they believe that real learning comes from other human beings.  But they were human, and humans, by and large, are not as smart or as right as we think we are. Humans are also imperfect, every last one of us. Humans make mistakes, all of us. 

So no need to blame parent’s or teachers, they were continuing to do what humans had always done. The only way you can stop a pattern like this is to be ‘awake’ enough to stop it, and most people are asleep. Not evil or stupid, but spiritually asleep. This point is vital to understand. To get upset about how asleep everyone else is is to in fact yourself be asleep at that moment. The best way to help everyone else wake up is to yourself be awake, and when you are blaming others and getting upset about how asleep everyone is, you are not awake.

So, when humans can understand how imperfect our understanding is, we can relax and know we will err. It’s part of being human; we all do it. I do it, and you do it, the greatest people who ever walked the face of the earth did it. It’s what humans do; we make mistakes. What truly makes us human, however, is we can learn from our mistakes. However, if we are too busy defending ourselves, trying to prove we are right, too afraid of an environment that does not encourage or allow us to err, we will be too scared to recognize our errors, and thus we learn nothing. 

This video gives me a lot of hope, and I hope it does you too. And I hope it helps to illustrate the power of making mistakes and learning from them. When future generations of humans look back at what may have been a key piece of the climate-change puzzle, they may look back and see Allan Savory and see his mistake and how he was willing to admit it and learn from it.

Jai Bhagwan!

-Douglas Johnson E-RYT 500, YACEP

Spring Fling - A Bhakti Yoga Retreat

March 29-31