When you fail at something, or make a mistake, or come in last place in a competition, it’s easy to want to hide from it. Nobody has to know about it. You can put it in a dark little corner in your mind that only you know about. You only want people to know about the things you do well. Right? The problem is that failure is a way to learn. If you don’t admit to the failure, you don’t learn the whole lesson.
I’m a pretty decent bagpiper. I’ve done well in grade 4 and just got bumped to grade 3. I’ve also had some spectacular failures, one of which I shared in a previous article. I am a member of a popular performance band, we usually have over 40 performances a year. I also do a lot of solo work, funerals and such. I have a lot of chances to make mistakes.
One incident in particular stands out to me, not just because of what I did, but because of what happened after. I was leading a small group from my band at a "Kirkin' of the Tartans" service. We play everyone in, after a small break play "Amazing Grace," another small break then play everyone out.
Everything went perfectly fine until the end. I called the tune, "Scotland the Brave," I called the tempo, then the beginning rolls started. Unfortunately, I started right into the tune right after calling it, no waiting for rolls, no nothing. I just fired up my bagpipes and dove right on in. The others in the group recovered nicely and made it seem like this was what was supposed to happen. I was mortified to say the least.
What stands out about the incident is that my fellow band members were all on board with never bringing it up again. I think that this might be a problem, If you don’t admit your mistakes, talk over them, and figure out exactly where the problem is you can never improve.
I’ve made many other mistakes and I always feel that the best thing to do is to acknowledge it, talk about it, and even have a bit of a laugh. It cements the cause and hopefully the solution in your head, it also shows everyone else that you can take resposibilty for your mistakes. Finally, it shows everyone else that mistakes happen and are a normal part of developing any craft. If you get yours out in the open it can help everyone improve.