We’ve Been Conditoned To Not Make Mistakes

  • painting our bed: risk
  • buying a rug online: risk
  • hanging sheets on our windows: risk
  • buying a chair from the thrift store without knowing where it will go: risk
  • hanging a salvaged oversized lantern: risk
  • painting the walls in a rental: risk
  • Having a room we love to be in: priceless

Risk.  It’s an art.

Every thing important to me was a risk.

And also, every thing in my home that I love was a risk. So many of us are afraid of making a mistake.  Afraid we’ll do it wrong.  Just Afraid.  It’s normal to be afraid, it’s natural to want to avoid risk.

And then there is our home.  To me, home is supposed to be the safest place on earth.  As mothers and wives we like to create that safe place for our family.  But, I’ve noticed that we don’t see our home as a safe place for us.

Yesterday at (in)courage we talked about making a gallery wall, and I noticed a little trend of comments about not having the courage to do a gallery wall.  So I asked what the issue was. Tina was kind enough to respond:

I love Tina’s honesty, don’t you just adore her? Part of me wants to scream, “It’s a ding a ling nail hole in the wall, is there anything in life LESS risky than creating a 1 millimeter hole in a wall that can be filled with your finger and some putty in 2 seconds?!”  If putting a hole in the wall equates a risk, then I cannot imagine how hard is to get in the car and drive around town, that’s much riskier.  But part of me also understands the hesitancy to take a first step into anything that we are unsure about.  I’m big stuff when it comes to making nail holes, but get me in the makeup department and I feel like a seven year old.  A seven year old boy. I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to cosmetics.  To me, cosmetics are risky so I avoid them, yet somehow I still find the courage to ride around in a car.

I was a nervous wreck the day I bought my sailfish but it was SO worth the risk:

The Secret: start with small risks and move on to larger ones

Why don’t we see decorating our home {or buying new makeup} as risk taking practice?  If we can’t take a risk in something as minuscule as choosing a fabric or paint or lipstick or a piece of art, what will happen when the opportunities for bigger risks with real rewards come along?

Riskless is hardly worth your effort.

Seth Godin

I loved what Lauren from Pure Style Home has to say about risk. I can’t say it any better so I’m going to quote her a little, but it’s worth it to read her entire article called Get Excited.

Don’t think of being nervous about a decision as a sign of making a wrong choice, instead consider it an opportunity to grow and learn.  We learn from mistakes as much as we learn from right choices.  Annie tells a great story about deciding to risk, here’s just a tiny part::

It can start with a nail hole and a tube of lipstick.

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  1. I LOVE THIS POST. I have no problem buying bright furniture, or indulging in quirky knick-nacks but I have a terror of hanging things on my wall (mostly because I ALWAYS manage to put the holes in the wrong place and end up with a crooked picture). So I wait around for my husband to do it, which often means I’m waiting a long time. Why is this such a sticking point for me? I love that gallery wall and hereby challenge myself to quit being such a pansy about this one thing.

  2. Yes! My husband and I just moved into a new apartment and making the FINAL DETERMINATION of where to hang something can be brutal! Maybe it’s the idea that it’s final… but come on, like you said, it’s a nail.

  3. I love your talk of risk, I just painted a painting of pears for my dining room walls, my kids kept telling me to stop that it was perfect and I told them it wasn’t finished yet. They were happy enough that I could paint two items that looked like pears. What a great gift that risk was.

  4. By the way, if you have any advice on working with DaySping, I would love it. I am their newest affiliate and would love to get involved with (in)courage. I am a new blogger (one year down) and I love what I do along with the fact that I have four kids, a puppy and a husband deployed. I am inspired to do better and a little more each day. Any advice would be helpful.

    All the best,

  5. Like anything, practice makes perfect. If you practice risk, it gets easier to take risk. Once you realize the world does not tumble down after the first couple of times, you sweat a little less and life becomes more fun. I may never jump out of an airplane but my house is Swiss cheese.

    a former scaredy cat turned risk taker because she had no choice

  6. I recently brought home 100+ year old doors handmade by my husband’s great grandfather. I knew I wanted to hang them in our family room but the FEAR of doing it wrong, of making holes in the wall, of it not looking right… it almost overtook me! I was losing sleep over this! So last week I told myself I was GOING TO DO IT and if it failed, then I’d clean it up before hubby got home from work.

    And you know what?! They are the best thing that ever happened to my house. I just want to sit in my family room and stare at them all day long. :) After I got them hung I felt like I had just won a gold medal. Overcoming fear is such a great feeling! Thanks for your timely post. :)

  7. Great post! My step mom actually said that to me once. She was scared to make any holes in the wall. She DID just get new sheet rock though lol. My walls look like pin cushions with all the holes I’ve pushed in them haha

  8. First of all, this bedroom is show stopping. I love every part of it.
    Second, I love that you encourage risk. I think that is a huge factor in many people’s reluctance to change anything in their home. You are proof it can be done!

  9. I enjoyed your post!! There is a saying on the wall at the gym I go to. “IF NOTHING CHANGES… NOTHING CHANGES! I find it funny how we can want change so bad yet we continually hesitate to move. Enough is enough by-galli I’m going to paint crap tomorrow!

  10. I loved this post. I’m right there with you on the make-up. Oh my, what is the big deal?

  11. I love this! I am actually very comfortable to risk take when it comes to creative aspects. It is the other areas of life I freak out over. I recently took a risk and realized it was not right. But I would have wondered had I not taken the risk. Risks are scary…especially when they do not turn out awesome. But as I look back I am realizing that my risk was good even though it did not turn out the way I wanted it to. It taught me a lesson…it forced me to take a risk…and I am better for it. How freeing it is to let go of the fear that keeps us from being and doing what we were truly made for.

  12. This comes at the PERFECT time for me – thank you so much for sharing! We’re moving into a blank slate of a house next week & are planning to stay for many, many years. I’ve been nervously considering what I could do with the house, nervous to risk spending money on something we end up hating. This is a great reminder. Thanks again!

  13. First… I’m a huge Natasha fan! :) (love freckles-do you know that one?)
    2nd… my kitchen is clean and mostly organized and i have 2 photos waiting to be picked up for hanging in there… :))
    3rd… I, also, confess, hoard picture frames, many empty, with dreams of photo gallery walls. In my laundry room, in the basement by the pool table, in my “studio”. I’m putting pictures in them today (risky step #1) and might find the courage to hang some next week…
    lasly… thanks for the inspiration, the laugh, and the beautiful images, always.

  14. We have moved 3 times in the last 3 years. The first move it took me 6 months to hang anything up and it never felt like home until then! The second move I just started hanging stuff up; didn’t really care if it was the right spot but I wanted it to feel like home! And it did! (And who cares if I have 3 times as many holes to fill now that we’re moving?!)

    Now for the 3rd move….stuff is in storage, don’t know where we’re going yet but I am dreaming of risk-taking… thank you for the beautifully inspiring rooms. My 3-year old girl was just oohing over them with me. :-)

  15. Inspiring! Makes me want to actually do that gallery wall in the kids’ room that I’ve been balking at for OVER A YEAR!!!

  16. An inspiring post! Every time we have painted our walls a bright color, or taken a bold risk in the house, I have felt proud of the process even if not the product. (Pumpkin orange living room walls have been re-painted a softer pollen yellow.) The process of risk-taking leaves me feeling more alive and joyful, and more assured that I can survive risks with gusto. It’s okay! It’ll always be okay!

  17. I just discovered your blog and have been reading through many of your posts. I am really trying to work on taking more risks in my home.

    We have recently added onto my kitchen and I need to finish painting my cabinets. My countertops are dark grey. I really want to paint the upper cabinets Tailors Chalk (cream) by Martha Stewart, with Magnetite (dark grey) base cabinets, and use cream subway tiles for the backsplash.

    I know that is what I want and have been thinking about it for months. But, I’ve been so afraid to try, because I was afraid that it wouldnt “look right” that I havent done anything for 6 months. I guess I will never know until I try. So I am going to jump in and just do it.

    If I really hate it, then I can always paint over it!!

  18. all very true. I have yet to make a lot of risks in our rental apartment. We’re moving this summer and hope I can be more adventerous in our new rental place. I feel limited by making big holes in the walls and lack of painting (unless we get an awesome landlord) but hopefully we can still make it rock ‘US’!

  19. I think you captured the hesitation that so many people feel about starting a new project. It is so interesting that, more often than not, the biggest fear of taking a risk comes with things that involve our homes/family (i.e. decorating, cooking, etc.). I wonder if it has to do with the extremely personal nature of both of those entities.

  20. My biggest problem is that I am afraid to hang stuff before I have the furniture for the room! I know I can always fill in holes and paint over them if I need to move pictures but I don’t know why it scares me so much….I guess I will take a risk and do it one of these days. :)

  21. What a wonderful post. This is so me, right now. I purchased fabric in February to recover my couch. Last night I FINALLY started. Blue houndstooth is a busy risk for an entire sectional. Recovering furniture . . . talk about a foreign country. I am one cushion down and happy so far. I am so glad that I am taking the risk. I hope that more ladies takes some risks. It makes life FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. We have that exact same bed! How funny. Ours is still in its original finish – I really love it in white though! Now I’m thinking about painting it ;)

  23. Would you care to guess the number of holes behind most of my now hung pictures? That’s why I use nails. I’ve moved into places where small pictures were hung on dressmakers pins.

  24. What a wonderful reminder. You are absolutely correct that we’ve been conditioned not to make mistakes and the moment we become okay with that we open up the world and somehow find our first taste of freedom.

  25. I know this post is about a year old but I just have to say, reading it was spot on. We bought a house & I lamented forever about painting our trim white (it was ugly wood). Lots of people said not to but in the end, I truly knew I wouldnt be happy until I had white trim. All the hours of sanding, priming & painting I kept repeating my matra – this is my home, it can be anything I want it to be!
    Can I tell you how right I was? My trim is white. It will knock your socks off & everyone who sees it says, Wow – well done!
    Now Im building up the courage to paint my mantle white! Eeep!

  26. Omigosh! I SO NEEDED TO READ THIS!!!!!!!!!!!! Myquillin, for real. I just wrote a blog post about some “risks” I’m planning to take in my home, and this is just the swat on the toosh I need to boost my confidence! You are so, so, so right. I, too, am prey to worries about the risk. Like, will my hubs dislike it or will I be wasting money on something I don’t like. Thank you!!! Love your blog–been a reader for years. See my post here if you’d like to see what I’m planning: http://ohsopoppy.com/wallpaper-surprises-and-apples/

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