Making Mistakes

The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything. – Theodore Roosevelt

What a wise quote by President Teddy Roosevelt. We can all make a mistake. If we don’t, we are sitting at home with our hands folded in our laps. Mistakes can be large or small. Irrelevant in the grand scheme of your life or life-changing. Usually, when we make a big, life-changing mistake, we surely don’t realize it at the time. We either think what we were doing was not all that important or we were convinced we were doing the right thing. It’s only when things start to go wrong and we look back do we realize we made a mistake.

Why does making a mistake bother us so much? I think the reasons are many but one is that it shows us our vulnerability. We have analyzed a situation incorrectly. On top of that, many of us may not realize it, but we have limited and fragile support systems. Those support systems may collapse if we make a mistake as there may be judgment and criticism involved. Some societies even cast out those who have made a mistake. In the United States, people who make a mistake are usually not cast out explicitly, but they may be implicitly. They certainly may be shunned. For all these reasons, along with the fear of being hurt, we have a deep-seated fear of making mistakes which makes us less creative in our lives.

We cannot avoid making mistakes due to changes in the world around us. Most change in the world we cannot see. It happens slowly and subtly and our actions often cannot keep up with it. So when we take an action, it is a mistake because change has happened that we are not aware of. The older we get, the more we usually fight change. The more we allow ourselves to be flexible and bend with change, the fewer mistakes we will make.

Even though it doesn’t feel like it when we make a mistake, there are benefits to be had. Some of them are: Mistakes deepen our knowledge. They help us see what matters and what does not. They allow us to see if someone in our life has changed or has not. They can teach us to value forgiveness. They can serve as a warning. They can give us a new insight.

There are many more lessons we can learn from mistakes. But we have to get beyond the pain we feel at making the mistake in order to learn the lessons.

When we realize that mistakes are part of the inevitable flow of life, we can relax and handle them better. It won’t take away the pain of making the mistake, but it will help us understand why we made the mistake and learn the lessons we should from it. #amwriting #blogging #writing


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