Kintsukuroi is a Japanese word that refers to the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver to join the pieces together. Fundamental to Kintsukuroi is the understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken. Kintsukoroi views the breakage as part of the object's history and something to be cherished rather than something to be hidden. There is beauty and honor in the cracks and chips that come from authentic use.
I began thinking about Kintsukuroi in the context of my own life and what it would look like if I adopted a Kintsukuroi mindset. One thing is for certain. I would take more risks. I would put myself out there even though there is a chance that I might fail. I’m certain that I miss many opportunities because I fear taking the first step.
Beyond missing opportunities, this risk aversity has an insidious effect. Because I avoid failure I don’t have the opportunity to learn from my setbacks. Not only are some of life’s best lessons found within failures, we also develop a resiliency when we allow ourselves to experience setbacks and then overcome them. I believe resiliency is the most important trait a person can have.
Another amazing thing happens when you allow yourself to fail. You demonstrate your vulnerability. Paradoxically, this brings you closer to others. As the late Leonard Cohen wrote, “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
The beauty of the human condition is that none of us is perfect, but we can heal our wounds and become even more beautiful. This is Kintsukuroi.
It is clear to me that I need to bring more Kintsukuroi into my life. I may even decide to make it my defining word for 2017. What about you? Are you ready to embrace Kintsukuroi?