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Oops!…I did it again.

January 17, 2010

      “Your best teacher is your last mistake.”-Ralph Nader

       Could we live without mistakes? Sure, we could all become perfectionists that cringed when we made the slightest error. That would be a pretty unhappy life completely fixated on not making a single mistake. However, as a side note I think it would be interesting to see how long a bunch of people could live that way. I know that for me personally that kind of life would make me crazy and that I would probably miss my mistake-trodden existence almost instantly. 

     Mistakes come in all shapes and sizes. There are the smaller ones: drawing on something you weren’t supposed to as a child, accidentally bumping into someone, spilling something or even a silly typo. Then there are those bigger ones that you cannot necessarily fathom the actual magnitude of all at once. The kind of mistake that makes you say “If only I could turn back the clock…just a little bit and fix it then everything would be fine.” The unfortunate reality is that whether the mistake is minute or HUGE, we must live with the reality that we can’t turn back time, and we can’t go into our past and change things (unless technology drastically changes in the future). Inept without a time travel machine, we are left to live in the present which isn’t as magical or a “gift” especially after we make a mistake.

      We make mistakes about as naturally as we breathe from the time that we’re children until we’re old and gray. That’s just a fact. The ugly part about mistakes is usually the consequence resulting from them that we have to live with. Not every consequence needs to be a detrimental, punishing sentence. What you make of your mistakes is your own choice. You can brush it off and think of the mistake as meaningless or you can take it as a lesson learned.  Eventually we may stop physically growing, but we never stop growing internally. Letting your last mistake be your teacher allows you to grow from your experiences whether they are good or bad. Sometimes that may require making the same mistake multiple times. Ultimately, as bad as your worst mistake might be and all the regret you have come to have of it, it was necessary. It might be hard to see now, but they all have a hand in teaching you what you need to know, preparing you for obstacles you’ll have to face and allowing you to be you to the fullest extent. And know that the next time a similar problem arises and the time comes you will know what choice to make.

      Living and learning is a part of the natural ebb and flow of life. So take your mistakes for what they are worth and learn from them. And if you do end up making a mistake this week or from now on…shake it off, understand it and if applicable learn to deal with it better in the future. In the words of Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus: “Take chances, make mistakes and get messy!”

*This post is red in honor of all of the red pens that have been taken to your work in years of school. Correcting and drawing your attention in an annoying , can’t miss way to all of the mistakes you made*

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2010 4:31 pm

    We need to learn to live in the modern day, and not dwell so much on the past or our past mistakes. We won’t be able to enjoy the beauty of everyday life if we are caught up in our past mistakes.

    Great post, love the things you have to say.

  2. January 22, 2010 7:53 pm

    ugh, i always hated those red pens!!! i had a teacher who used purple, pink, green, etc…never red. i liked her.

  3. JoAnn Wendl permalink
    January 31, 2010 9:51 pm

    Nader is a smart guy, and that is a terrific quote. The primary given in life is that we will be given the opportunity each and every day to learn something of value or learn something that makes even the most mundane task a learning tool. Perfectionism is grossly over rated, and is more likely to stunt ones learning process than enhance it.

    Once the process is understood, it becomes clear that ” The only thing we have to fear is fear itself “, a quote by FDR. Because at root,a fear of failing can make us stumble on our egos and pretend we know when we don’t. This can result in the loss of precious opportunities to grow and evolve, each of us in our own unique way. If we understand this, eventually we can become comfortable with the process of learning and whittle away at these perfectionistic attitudes.

    Once we’ve gotten out of our own way, the protection of our ego seems less important, no longer needs to be propped up, and we’re able to indulge in some authentic character building leading to a knowledge base that grows and evolves with time.

    In the end, we become truly secure, because we accept and make peace with the fact of our own falibility.

    blah blah blah… Long winded huh ?

    • February 2, 2010 9:11 pm

      not long winded at all JoAnn
      i appreciate commentary…always =]
      i absolutely agree with what you’ve said and i think as difficult as it might be we all need to become more comfortable with our inevitable fallibility because it does make us better and more open to growth

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