Mistakes were Made…for the Better

At this very moment, I am standing in my kitchen, jamming out to the greatest hits of Alanis Morisette (“Crazy” to be exact), waiting for dinner to finish baking.

On the menu tonight: Lemon-baked Cod (http://www.food.com/recipe/lemon-baked-cod-135272)

When I started to make this delicious meal, I realized I was missing a key ingredient: lemon juice. Can’t make Lemon-baked Cod without lemon juice, right?

WRONG.

In a moment of genius, I quickly scooped up two tablespoons of pickle juice. Yup, that’s right. I substituted lemon juice with pickle juice.

Why? Well, it has somewhat to do with my natural prowess as a good experimental cook (I also replaced the flour with crushed up Ritz crackers). But it also has mostly to do with the fact that I am not afraid to make mistakes.

I’m pretty sure everybody can think back to their elementary school years, like in art class, or music, or something creative. In our early years, we are taught what is (subjectively) right and wrong. You hit the drum to the rhythm, you hold the paintbrush this way, make sure to color inside the lines.

That’s not such a bad lesson to teach kids. But as we get older, our minds are then confined to the boundaries established when we were young. We still feel we have to color inside the lines. As adults, this is inhibiting.

I was talking last week with one of the women in the public affairs office where I work, discussing my flashy resume and business cards. She told me that back when she was preparing to enter the “real” world, it was taboo to be gimmicky and have flashy material. A great resume, she said, was one clearly written, with an impressive amount of experience. But she said, with the tough job market, it is now almost a necessity to be gimmicky. Experience is still important, but having your own branding on a resume is an identifier for a prospective employer. Because you WANT to stand out.

So coloring inside the lines is the wrong thing to do now. We must not only show our true colors, we want them to burst and swirl and explode in the face of the rest of the world. If it doesn’t go over well, then hey, at least we tried. That’s when we learn from our mistakes and try again in a different way. We are afraid that we have to do things correctly the first time because that’s how we were taught. But there is such a thing as second chances.

Most of the time we’ll fail our first attempts at anything. But there are some times that we will surprise ourselves with how well we do simply by deviating from the norm.

On that note, the cod is amazing. Take THAT!

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