Embrace Imperfections

I’ve done some dumb things in my life. Like convincing a friend that we should swim down a local river so that we could collect all the jewelry and other precious things people had lost… 

…or when I challenged the same friend to kayak on Lake Michigan in March during a storm.  

…and I can’t forget about that time when some guys and I used a portable generator to power a car battery because the alternator was malfunctioning.  

..and there was also that time when I scheduled a staff vs. students street hockey match hours before a parent night. That wasn’t really dumb until I got checked in the face. 

I have dozens of examples, but will just let these sink in for now. The truth is, we’ve all done things that our better selves would have avoided.  So despite how dumb I might feel about these or other experiences in my life, I know that I am not alone. 

The good news is that I survived each of these and other less than well thought out exercises.  Better yet, I have stories to tell that today sound more exotic and interesting than stupid. 

As humans, we are not born perfect.  Our brains and bodies are designed to learn and grow, to experience success and failure, and to be resilient when things don’t go as planned.   That’s why I think we should embrace our mistakes, our foibles, and our occasional lack of good judgment.  In fact, not only should we allow ourselves to have vulnerabilities, we should  highlight them. 

Brene Brown, widely revered as the expert on this topic, has asserted that vulnerability is not weakness, but instead that it is “our most accurate measure of courage.” 

And let’s think about the word trust.  Whenever I encounter someone who seems too perfect, I often question what they’re hiding.  But people who openly own the actions or habits that make them less than perfect do seem more genuine. Honest. Humble.

So, for all the reasons above, let’s embrace our imperfections.  After all, they make us interesting and trustworthy.

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