Inspirational Speaker: On Mistakes and Confidence and Ballet

Neil gaiman

First, I want to thank Mary Gilmartin for giving me inspiration for this particular post. She is the one who posted this inspirational quote that in turn inspired me.

I probably make mistakes a lot. All the time. I know I make mistakes when I’m drafting my novel, and I frankly don’t care. I probably make mistakes at work, but I let myself learn from them instead of chastising myself for forgetting to ask for spouse’s name or if that city is in range (plus, the phone room can have fun with that one). I don’t fear mistakes, not like I used to. I have tried a lot of new things this year, more than I thought I did. I started painting with acrylics, testing blending and shading and highlighting. I started creating bows, which didn’t turn out half bad. I danced in a recital, where mistakes were numerous in the beginning and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to catch up. Then I took a chance on When Stars Die, instead of fearing the potential mistake that it could have been. And I have been pleased with all the chances I took this year.

I am no longer afraid of mistakes. Why should I be? Mistakes mean I’m living, taking chances, growing, learning, and changing. I want to live a life of no regrets, and to do that, I have to make mistakes.

George Balanchine, famous for The Nutcracker, once said that to fall means you are pushing yourself beyond your limits and are therefore growing and improving. He meant this toward dancers, of course, but it can apply to anyone in general. But I know during ballet class, especially pointe class, I fall more than anyone because while everyone approaches an exercise with hesitancy, I approach it with vigor, and so when the exercise starts, I give it everything I have. I’m not afraid to fall en pointe. What’s the worse than can happen? A bruise? My ankles are strong enough not to sprain easily, so I take my chances with everything.

My bipolar disorder did give me the confidence to start taking chances simply because I know a depressive episode can kill my confidence in a heartbeat. A manic episode can make me overly confident, but depression is the killer of all things good. More than anything though, I think ballet in general has given me the confidence to do what I never thought possible. Just look at ballet. Look at this:

From Tumblr, Obsessive Dancing Disorder
From Tumblr, Obsessive Dancing Disorder

I can barely do this on flat, but I know I’m going to get there because I can do everything else in ballet, so why not this? And if I can do ballet, why can’t I have a published novel? And if I can have a published novel, why shouldn’t I become a bestseller through hard work and determination? Why should I be afraid of making mistakes?

Good things never happen through perfection. Good thing happen through mistakes, trial and error, learning and tweaking. Don’t ever let hesitancy hold you book because, really, what is the worst that can happen by taking that chance, whatever it may be? This isn’t to say you should go out gambling and blow your life’s savings. Use discretion here. But if there’s nothing to lose, do it. Why not? I didn’t get my contract by holding my book back and waiting for some magical sign that it was ready. I didn’t get en pointe by fearing that I’d break something. I wrote a book, made mistakes with it and bettered those mistakes. I took private lessons, made plenty of mistakes, and worked hard to correct them. I practice, practice, practice with whatever I do because I want it for myself. You have to want it too because no one else can want it for you.

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Author:

Also known as The Dancing Writer, she is currently working on The Stars Trilogy, among other works.

2 thoughts on “Inspirational Speaker: On Mistakes and Confidence and Ballet

  1. Thank you for being you and sharing!

    I find it inspiring in knowing that there are other creative people out there struggling with Bipolar and allowing themselves to be imperfect because perfectionism is killing them.

  2. You’re welcome! Glad to see your posting inspired from what Neil Gaimon had to say. I think of myself as a “visionary”:http://marygilmartin.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/what-is-a-visionary/
    Another Quote I Like:
    “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

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