Are You One Mistake Away from Your Greatest Success?

Photo via Unsplash

Reading Unmistakable by Srinivas Rao and his love of surfing made me reflect on my own journey with tango.

While today’s technology has given rise to the indie creative, it’s also harder than ever to rise above the noise. But instead of being a choice of one among many, Srini suggests that you become the only choice by being unmistakable.

He says that art requires us to attempt what hasn’t been proven to work. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we love Apple products so much — for showing us what we didn’t even know we wanted!

How Shortcuts Can Actually Get In Our Way

When we tackle something, in the end it’s more than learning steps or enjoying the water, we can’t help but learn something about ourselves. We are transformed in the process.

Instead, we want the “magic pill” — budding creatives and entrepreneurs almost always ask, “what’s the secret?” So, we buy yet another ebook.. Another course.. More coaching..

Don’t get me wrong — each of these has its place. But the self-improvement industry can be just as addictive as big pharma — offering candy to feed our addiction.

When We Wait for the Perfect Moment to Begin

Ready is an illusion, “ as Srini points. I agree. While I took my share of tango lessons and workshops, it was only in the actual dancing that I learned to go beyond the steps.

photo source: Jane Claire-Quigley

Actors and comedians talk about choices — “oh, that was an interesting choice..” is one of the best compliments. “Hmm.. I’m not sure about that choice” is one of the harshest criticisms to hear.

Yet, “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment,as Will Roger points out.

An artist must choose which strokes to make, what colors to use, what medium to practice on.. So it goes, where our life is our own personal masterpiece or book of sketches — occasionally, we get do-overs, we pick up another piece of the canvas, but the music keeps going.

In tango people follow a line of dance, moving in a counterclockwise racetrack pattern. You can stop or go backwards at your own risk — or at the dismay of those around you.

We admire those who create lovely moments while being in tune with the music. When I’ve had a “tango moment” with my partner, where we’re so in sync with each other, there’s a quiet knowing that we’ve both shared something more than ourselves.

What We Crave in Common Hours

Each “tango moment” is a moment of bliss.. An unmistakable moment. As Supreme Court Chief Justice Potter said when asked for his definition of pornography, “I know it when I see it.”

In her TED talk Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the Moors recognizing moments in sacred dance when the dancer transcends the moment and becomes connected with something greater. The audience would point and chant, recognizing this connection with the divine.

My partners have shared that they, too, have felt this. More than fame or fortune, this is what artists and creative entrepreneurs crave — this feeling of connection with something greater than themselves.

Yet, this perfection doesn’t come from “being perfect.” Perfectionism can actually keep you from the success you’ve been seeking. As Seth Godin says, fear is the enemy of creativity.

I’ve fallen flat on my face — both on and off the dance floor. I’ve railed that I just wasn’t getting it. I’ve watched more advanced dancers in awe and with envy.

Slowly but surely, I found a uniqueness in each partner that they mirrored in me. “I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something about the way you dance..” Maybe it was the embrace, or the quality of movements, or the energy.. or the whole package really..

I’m not so sure about the whole “two wrongs make a right” thing, but in my book your mistakes are what make you unmistakable.

Check out Unmistakable: Why Only is Better than Best on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play or Penguin, or visit

To connect with other indie creatives and entrepreneurs visit Butterfly Formula or to follow my food travel adventures or digital nomad journey visit Tango Vagabond.

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