I got a manicure recently, for the first time in forever, and I had the nail tech paint my nails with a “french tip.” It requires some level of precision since my nails are so short for my current profession as a massage therapist. The white tips are painted by hand, then let to dry, and then a clear coat goes on top.
She did a fantastic job on my left hand, but not so much on the right side. I didn’t look closely until later that night, when I got home, and then I couldn’t stop looking at my right-hand fingernails…they were really quite bad, and I was disappointed.
Hang in there – I promise this is going somewhere 🙂
For the next day or so, I kept obsessing about my right-hand nails, and sighing with dismay. Glancing quickly at my left hand, I would smile and think, wow, she did a great job on my left hand. They looked perfect.
At that minute, it dawned on me. Why don’t I just stop looking at my right hand, the smudgy one, and instead admire my left hand, the perfectly painted nails that brought me joy? What compelled me to focus on the disaster, instead of the beauty?
This mini life lesson corollated exactly with some feelings of self-doubt I was experiencing over the way my fall semester ended. I finished my chemistry class feeling as if I was running through oncoming traffic, trying not to lose my shoes. I was underprepared and overwhelmed. I passed the class with a C, but not a C I felt proud of, if that makes sense.
At the same time, I finished my College Algebra class super strong. I got a 99% on my last test in there and a 90% on my final, finishing with an A+. Yet, instead of spending time congratulating myself on a job well done in math – a language I find intimidating at times – the haphazard end to my Inorganic Chemistry series had me questioning my intelligence. (It was the best of times; it was the worst of times… – Dickens)
I understand that there is a benefit to reviewing what went wrong when things go wrong, so we know how to avoid it in the future, or how to adjust our strategy to be successful. But, I believe we often forget to review what went right when we win, what steps we took that were supportive and kept us at the top of our game.
It’s a strange and normal human behavior, focusing on the negative. Now, I’m more aware that it’s happening, (thanks to my recent random life lesson from a half-perfect manicure) and I’m making a commitment to revel in my successes more than wallow in my defeat, and learn from both. I have to remind myself that it’s all part of the journey, anyway. As Winston Churchill said:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”