Master SuperMaster says, "A true Dom never makes a mistake."
Albert Einstein said, "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."
I've made some colossal mistakes as a predator, a lover, a top, and a Master. More than anything, dominance is an attitude. I love teaching and I love learning. My Taoism tells me that's the same love, just inside out. That love is a vital part of my attitude as someone who practices dominance. These ingredients are powerful for learning: admitting ignorance, taking risks, and making mistakes.
Here are some of my mistakes, in hopes that they're instructive to others. Or at least amusing.
Trying Too Hard ... I have a group for my household. I got the clever idea to set my group title to "Master", so that I could walk around with "Master Kandr Newall" above my head. This lasted for a couple weeks before I came to my senses. Franklin Veaux says it best: "Being a master is like being enlightened. If you have to tell people that you are--you aren't."
You Don't Actually Want That ... A woman told me she wanted to be completely objectified, as nothing more or less than a total sextoy. She described in it her profile, we talked about it, she behaved like a sextoy, and she sent me many erotica stories about women being objectified. But the anachronistic gentleman in me kept silently insisting that she didn't truly want it. Thankfully, I eased into giving it to her. No surprise: the more I gave her what she wanted, the more passionate and eager she became.
Honey, Sugar, Gumdrop ... While I was in Gor, I purposefully developed some habits I thought made me more of a master. I started calling every slave "sweetling", regardless of relationship or context. I appended this to almost everything I said. I've seen others habitually use endearments like this, and I've seen (and privately heard) how subs actually react. Now I know that "sweetling" wasn't having the effect I wanted. At all.
Taboo ... Here's another habit I developed to "be more of a master": I never said "thank you." I would twist sentences around so that I would say something pleased me. It was contrived and arduous. It's like I believed that properly expressing gratitude would somehow puncture my master balloon, and all my dominance would leak out. Yeesh.
Shake-and-Bake Drama ... I was getting close to someone. I had some concerns about compatibility. In so many words, I said, "I really like you. But you need to change in these several major ways." This is a classic back-handed compliment. It's understandable to decide that a relationship isn't working out. But everyone has the right to be present in SL in a way that feels right to them. I was wrapping praise and attraction around what was really a criticism. At best, this is inconsiderate; at worst, it's passive aggressive. I have consoled friends when their partners dropped this drama bomb in a relationship. Apparently it's a mistake I has to make for myself at least once. I later apologized.
Missed the Message ... I had chatted and scened with a woman several times. We had hot chemistry and strong compatibility. We had talked about collars. We were RPing. She was standing with her back to a post, arms raised above her head, eyes full of promise. Much later, she asked me why I didn't collar her then, when she was deliberately adopting such a submissive posture. In my defense, I was relatively new to D/s. But my response was still utterly lame: "You were submitting?"
I don't know anything about Einstein in the bedroom. Smart is sexy, so if the master of space-time ever suited up as a Master, I'm sure he got some. With Einstein's advice, and for many other reasons, I'm not afraid of making mistakes. Learning can be painful, but coasting or playing it safe is unworthy of me and my partners, when I aspire to be dominant.