A lot of musicians are perfectionists. Surprise surprise, the kind of person willing to spend four hours practicing a day wants to be perfect! However, in college and in life, there are going to be times that you, for whatever reason, do something just really remarkably poorly. It might be a performance. It might be a project. It might be an assignment you have at work. And eventually, one of these times are going to result in negative consequences. It’s the way life works. If you aren’t prepared for these moments, they are going to Kick your Butt. So with that in mind, here are some coping techniques for those times when you realized you Done Effed Up.

Accept that the thing happened. Once you’ve made a real Mistake, it’s done. You can’t rewind time and undo the thing, you can’t retroactively avoid it. You just have to accept that it has happened. Beating yourself up over it is not helpful – the point now is to move forward and see what you can salvage.

Find out what can be done to lessen the damage. The next step, is of course to start making reparations. If you’ve let someone down, apologize sincerely and without using the word “but.” If you’ve failed a requirement, ask someone in charge what you can do to remedy it. The goal is to show that you are actually repentant and intent on fixing or lessening the damage of whatever happened.

Let your emotions exist. If you are upset about this mistake, that’s understandable and completely normal. If you need to cry, or hide from the world, or talk to someone about it, do the thing. Your emotions make sense, and they are okay. Just make sure you don’t stay hidden in your negative emotions to avoid doing the work you need to do to fix things.

Let go and move on to the next thing. Have you done your best to fix or make up for the thing? If you’ve done all you can, then it’s time to accept the consequences of your actions and move on with your life. Sometimes you’ve done all you can do and there are still negative repercussions. At that point, you accept them as part of your life story, and move on to the next chapter with the intent of making it a better one.

Making mistakes always sucks. However, they are not the end of the line. There is always a new page to write. You can move on, and in time, you’ll feel better, I promise.

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