With No Limits to the Mistakes You Can Make
I’m a big fan of studying languages and as such have been using Duolingo to teach myself Spanish since early 2020. While I can’t speak or translate audibly very well, I am always beyond delighted when I can read (basic) printed Spanish almost as easily as English. Because I use the free version of Duolingo, they’re always trying to capture me with promotions and ads, like the one I recently screengrabbed:
WITH NO LIMITS TO THE MISTAKES YOU CAN MAKE
I know this is referring to the fact that if I use the wrong verb conjugation, I lose a heart and if I lose 5 hearts, I have to win back hearts before I can start another lesson. If I pay for Duolingo Plus, I’ll never run out of hearts. Even after years of using Duolingo and years of mentally blocking out their ads, this one caught me.
What if I lived in such an honest way that there wasn’t room for fear of mistakes? Not reckless. Not apathetic. Not hurried or distracted or detached. But what if I lived with the knowledge that I was going to make mistakes—that frankly, there was no limit to the number of mistakes I was going to make—and I got up each morning and did my best anyway.
There’s a quote from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) that says, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Some days, I feel like I could get a sign that says “I’ve made as many as six mistakes before breakfast.”
And what if we could celebrate that? What if we could view our mistakes as what they really are—signs of trying something new. Signs of stepping outside our comfort zone. Signs of doing brave and scary and uncertain things time and time again until we get it right.
So in life, just as in Duolingo, there really is no limit to the number of mistakes I can make. My only hope is that I view them with grace, humility, acceptance, and faith.
Grace in knowing I am doing my very best.
Humility in knowing there is always room to improve.
Acceptance in knowing this present moment is enough.
Faith in knowing the journey is worth the challenges.