You know, most people hate that word. And they hate “failure” even more. When you think about it, at first it makes sense. Why would anyone want to make a mistake? Why would anyone want to fail? It’s a waste of time. It’s not productive. And you feel horrible afterwards because you didn’t do whatever it was you wanted to. Basically, it’s plain old frustrating to make a mistake.
Yet I think that mistakes are necessary. If you never made mistakes… well, as good as it sounds, I think your life would really suck.
First of all, mistakes and failure
help make you learn. If you don’t give up, that is. Which you don’t. Every time you make a mistake, you learn one thing you should not do to achieve your goal. You get experience. You know that next time you won’t do that, so you’ll try something new.
Mistakes force us to evolve throughout our lives. If no one ever made mistakes, no one would ever try anything new because there would be no need to change anything. It would be so boring; everyone would be the same. People would have such similar experiences because they never made mistakes that caused them to do something different from everyone else. So, in the words of Calvin and Hobbes’ dad: “It builds character.”
Secondly, mistakes keep us humble. At least some of us. Others somehow don’t remember any of their mistakes and become vain. I know that, personally, mistakes serve to remind me that I can’t do everything perfectly on my first try, just like everyone else. Often times, you have to try really hard to reach your goal, and that’s how you know you want it and you deserve it.
Lastly, mistakes are just part of learning. Just like mistakes make us learn, learning makes us make mistakes. A lot of people are embarrassed when they make a mistake. Some girls on my football team are really hard on themselves. When our coach shows us a new dribbling move, or a shot, and they can’t do it right away, they become disheartened. They get angry or sad, which makes it even harder for them to focus on what they’re trying to do.
Whenever I mess up, especially in front of a lot of people (like at football practice), I just think of the points I made above, and I remind myself:
- Everyone makes mistakes, so they can’t fairly judge me on the one I just made.
- I’m not perfect, thank God! So, if you are going to spend your time hating any word, don’t waste your time on “mistake”; “perfect” is a much better candidate. Pretty much the only impossible thing in the world is perfection.
- I know not to do that again, unless I want the result again.
- I learned something new from that!
- No one will remember this by tomorrow.
So, for a recap, mistakes make us interesting, force us to evolve and learn, and keep us humble. I strongly suggest that the next time you make a mistake, you smile, shake it off (as my parents used to tell me) and figure out your mistake instead of banging your head against a wall.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes, you’ll thank yourself later!