When I was very young, I learned a lesson that I still use to this day. It was much like one of those Disney movie moments where you watch it as a kid and it’s just a funny story but when you re-watch it as an adult, it hits a lot harder. Back in elementary school, I was working on a presentation for class. I spent so much time making everything look perfect (by 2nd grade standards, anyway). Then comes time to add the title page, the final piece - I’ve always worked in reverse, never knew why, I just do. After creating a beautiful picture, I write the title and what do I do? Misspell a very simple word. This leads to me scribbling it out and throwing a tantrum, naturally. In comes mom (my savior) to the rescue. She shows me how to turn my scribbles into a funky design that borders the title page and we rewrite the title underneath. She taught me how to think creatively when things don’t go as planned. In the end, it looked great and I was eager to hand it in.
To this day, I still look back on that moment and laugh. Such a silly thing to get upset over, but still so relatable. The lesson? Mistakes are not permanent, they are outlets for discovery and alternate solutions. It’s all about using them as an opportunity to change your perspective. Still to this day, I try to remember this lesson when things go awry. There’s always a solution, you just have to get creative. I can confidently say, this mishap has made me born to solve through all aspects of my life.
As a Sales & Design Rep at John Mini, I often utilize this lesson. Time is valuable and it’s important to not let any work you do go to waste. Sometimes, it may seem easier to completely scrap your work and start from scratch. But often, a little tweaking or some creative solutions can get you where you need to be even faster.
As I mentioned earlier, I often do things in reverse (reading a menu back to front, starting at the back of a book, narrowing down what I don’t want, to find out what I do, etc) Perhaps it’s because I’m lefty… but I digress. There are times I start with a purposeful mistake and work backwards because I know it will eventually lead me to finding the solution. Life is always throwing you curveballs (2020 anyone?) but it’s about what you do with those and how you can turn it into something else, something beautiful.
The point is, we are not perfect - and coming from a perfectionist, this was hard for me to come to terms with, but there is certainly beauty in the imperfect. Take nature for example, so unpredictable and chaotic, yet lovely all the same. We ought to take a page out of nature’s book.
This picture I drew was intended to just be a koi fish. However, as I was drawing, the tail started to look deformed, way out of scale and closely resembling a leaf. So, I figured, why not roll with it, and turn the tail into a monstera leaf. Thus, I ended up with this morphed plant creature. Nevertheless, the outcome was unexpected, unique & beautiful in its own way. Oddly enough, koi fish are associated with perseverance in adversity. I have to admit, I didn’t draw one because of their symbolism, but as it turns out, the meaning rang quite true after I was finished. Adversity is all around us and often surprises us when we least expect it. It’s all about what you do with it that counts.
You never know where your choices are going to lead you but getting there is half the fun. Embrace the mistakes and get creative with the solutions. You may end up discovering something pretty cool. In the words of Bob Ross, “we don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”
Got an A+ on that elementary assignment, by the way…
Liana Hutcheon, Sales & Design