Get Messy...Make Mistakes

12/05/2011 04:49 pm ET | Updated Feb 04, 2012

When my children were toddlers, my favorite cartoon show we watched together was The Magic Schoolbus. It stood out from all the other preschool programming because of Ms. Frizzle, the teacher who drove the bus.

Her favorite saying was, "Get messy...make mistakes". I loved that message.

After all, how can a kid learn anything new without making a mess of it at first? Just look at this little finger-painter in the picture below...a future graphic artist perhaps?

And yet how often do we let our grown-up selves (over 50 for gosh sakes) get messy or be in a situation where we might make a "mistake"...or look like we haven't a clue what we are doing? Yet that is guaranteed to happen every time we try anything new.

Here's another quote I fall back on when I choose to be a beginner:

"Every master was once a disaster."


It really is true that in order to be good at anything, you must be willing to do it very, very badly at first.

This is where "messy" is the stuff dreams are made of.

What is one activity or experience you want to check out SO BADLY you are willing to get messy and make mistakes to get started?

Maybe it is something you've had trouble giving yourself permission to explore in the past. Ballet, pottery, sea kayaking, learning another language, volunteering as a Big Brother or Big Sister.

What dream are you keeping in the closet...and when would RIGHT NOW be a great time to go for it?

Here's one way to get started.

Spend 30 minutes this week and find a group or a club or a class or a volunteer opportunity where you can take your dream out for a spin. Then make the appointment and go do it.

Can you hear Ms. Frizzle as you contemplate getting started?

"Go on...get messy, make mistakes."

Tell everyone you are a beginner and make a beautiful mess with a big grin on your face.

You can tell yourself, "THIS is what a master-in-the-making looks like."

Dike Drummond, M.D. is a former physician now known as the "Do-over Doctor." Visit his Website here. Or get your copy of the Midlife Crisis Handbook at Amazon's Kindle Store.