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What can we learn when things don't go to plan?

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

I tried to make pancakes this week. Usually this would not cause much difficulty, much for some reason this week I just couldn’t seem to get it right. The batter was too thin and then too thick, the pan was too cold then too hot and finally I couldn’t flip. After what seemed like a long time in the kitchen I managed to make a single edible pancake and a lot of mess.

It would have been easy to dwell on all the pancakes that went wrong and to let my inner critic tell me that I was a failure for not even being able to make pancakes. In the past that would certainly have been what happened, but I was quickly able to spot this unhelpful thinking and to replace it with a kinder voice who was able to make the distinction between my ability to make pancakes and my worth as a human being. That compassionate voice helped me to see what I had learnt about the art of pancake making and how I can use that experience to improve my skills and, hopefully, my success rate next time I make them.

To be able to notice the change in the way I spoke to myself and the difference this made to my feelings of worth reminded me of how much I have changed. So often we don’t take the time to notice how the small changes add up to make a big difference in our lives. It is important to take the time to notice these changes and to recognise the difference that learning to do things differently makes. Just like my pancake making there will be times where it doesn’t go quite to plan, but we can always learn something from each attempt.

I’m on annual leave next week (possibly attempting to make more pancakes), so I won’t be around, but I will be back on Monday 1st March.

I’d love to know what you’ve learnt when things haven’t gone to plan.

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