A weird thing happened last night. I was messing around with a website I had built (say it loud – “I’m geek and I’m proud”) and I managed to kill it dead. I mean terminal. Dead, deceased, no more. It wasn’t just sleeping. That’s not the weird thing though, my ability to crash computers and destroy websites is legendary, mainly because I like to fiddle with settings I should not be touching. The weird thing was that when it happened I was pleased! Yup. Big smile on my face! It was the thing I had been worried about doing for fear of not being able to get the site back, so when it happened feeling happy about it was a little unexpected! Now maybe I should clarify that it was not this website, which is very important to me and a real labour of love, and I know everyone within a ten mile radius would have heard me scream if it had been! But now I have done it once I know even this one could go down and I wouldn’t panic any more. You see, as a result of last night’s events I learnt how to get websites back up.
That is the message I want to get over in this post. The result of failure is growth. Ever since I have been designing websites I have had a real fear of messing them up on the host server because the workings of all of those files and folders was a real mystery to me. They were the unknown. Last night I went in for the first time and attempted to install stuff and I completely bodged it up. I fiddled around for a few hours, learning all the time, then eventually (thanks to Google) worked out how to repair the damage. Now I’m not scared and have more confidence that I can handle server stuff. I’m now a much more empowered geek!
Throughout our lives we get things wrong and the mistakes lead us down different roads that turn out to be positive. Clients often talk to me about things they have failed at and just having a therapist work through the situation enables them to see what they have learnt from it and that it wasn’t necessarily all bad.
Here are a few personal examples from my life:
Choosing to work in a Supermarket in the management team when I first graduated, rather than going into teaching which is what I really wanted to do. I learnt how such large organisations work and that my ideas about how things should be done were (very!) different. I learnt a huge amount about philosophy because I started to read philosophy books to keep my mind stimulated in what I found was a dull job. I learnt I was really crap at ordering carrots and that having a well-paid job means nothing if you are miserable whilst doing it.
Buying my first house without doing any research into the area and finding myself living in one of the toughest areas of Salford (yep – see how I still talk about it like it was an accident that has little to do with me?!). Hmmm. I’m kind of an impatient person at times and this is a great example. What happened? I had a real sinking feeling when it slowly dawned on me what I had done. The value of the house went down and down and I was sat with negative equity and a very scared feeling deep in my core. My fears about being unsafe quickly disappeared though as I found I was living around people who were friendly, caring and who had a great sense of humour. It sounds like a clichÃ©, but it was a community and people really did look after each other. In the end (it took 10 years) it all turned out well. Because the location was very close to Manchester city centre the developers moved in and started throwing up yuppy flats left, right and centre. The value of my house shot up just at the time my first child was born and we were able to sell the house for a tidy profit and move to a bigger house. I learnt so much about doing research, slowing my impulses down and what communities are all about.
Getting things wrong in the relationship with my partner. In my second long term relationship I could see myself repeating the same old negative behaviour patterns and having the same feelings I had in my first one. I was an extremely jealous man and I now cringe when I think of some of the unfair and frankly ridiculous conversations I had with my partner, fueled by my insecurity. I knew I wanted to change so eventually I grasped the nettle and booked an appointment with a psychotherapist (it took me twenty minutes to get through the door the first time. I hung around outside checking the place out and building up courage). The result – my view of life changed dramatically, the jealousy melted away and I got interested in how such a transformation could occur. Here I am, fifteen years later, doing the most rewarding job I have ever had.
Us humans have the uncanny ability to balls things up, get things wrong and generally make a mess. It’s what makes us human. Sometimes we need those around us to help us understand how useful in life this can be.
If you would like to have therapy in Manchester with me please use my contact form or phone 07966 390857 to get in touch.