We learn at a young age that no one is perfect. We hear that the key is to learn from the mistakes we make and to do better next time. Sometimes, we forget that somewhere in between making the mistake and doing better next time, we must forgive ourselves.
I love making people laugh. I’m not sure how much five seconds of gratification is worth in the long run, but it makes me happy, if just for a moment, to see people smile because of something I have done. Laughter is either the most powerful healer humans have or the weakest distraction. Likely it is somewhere in between, but I cannot decide. Times like last night, I am reminded laughter has yet another purpose that is often overlooked.
Last night, I bombed. I reported live at the Meridian Township Board meeting. During the report, I was supposed to use notecards as reference points. Seems easy enough? The problem was that in all my time at school, internships, I had not used a notecard, even once. Because of my inexperience, my notecards were jumbled up, poorly written and a complete mess. So, one can imagine how well my live report went.
First, I had to recognize my mistake. I did that a little too soon as my mind started racing not even midway through the report.
Second, I had to learn from my mistake. From now on: I will try to fit everything on one notecard, maybe two; I will take my time writing the notecard, making it as neat as possible; I will use bullet points to organize my thoughts; And finally, I will know what I did not before.
Last of all, I had to forgive my mistake, and laughter was the tool I chose. The second our show ended, I made a point to address all of my fellow interns and make fun of myself. I wanted to kill any tension and any thoughts of pity that may have been in their hearts. The result was fantastic. We all had a few laughs, and after the biggest bomb of my life, I felt great leaving the building. How can this be?
After my abysmal performance, I chose not to sulk. Instead, I laughed at myself, I made others laugh, I forgave and I felt happiness. For this choice, I am proud, much prouder than if I had done well in the first place.