Neil Tambe

Let’s go.

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

I don’t know how to handle mistakes - please help.

TOYOHASHI, JAPAN—I’m afraid of making mistakes. I’ve realized this in the past 6 months, beyond the superficial way that everyone knows they are uncomfortable making mistakes. 

And, it’s taken me a minute to think about why I struggle. And I’ve realized that’s it’s not the mistake that’s as hard - that’s but a moment in time - it’s that I don’t know how to react to them without irrational, uncontrollable anxiety.

My whole life I don’t think anyone has ever walked me through how to handle the emotional burden of a mistake. I don’t remember a time in my life where a mistake hasn’t led to a scolding, a punishment, dissapointment or shame. I don’t remember, ever, making a mistake and my heart rate not immediately rising, my stomach not churning, and my teeth not grinding. I never learned (or thought about, frankly) how to react to a mistake.

On the bright side, I think I do know how to own up to a mistake. I know how to learn from a mistake. I do know how to correct a mistake. I’m not saying I do these well, of course.

What I don’t understand is the human, emotional part of it. I ask for your advice. How do I make mistakes, even little ones, without having irrational, uncontrollable anxiety?


Please do say hello: neil.tambe[at]gmail[dot]com