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mistakes. Mistakes are how I learn the best, and I've made plenty of
them in my lifetime, so I naturally consider myself to be a well-learned
person. It makes sense, at least to me. When I've studied
languages, the easiest way for me to internalize something--vocabulary or
verb conjugation or declensions--was when someone corrected me after I
made a mistake. If I'm learning a new sport, I learn the most when I
make a mistake and I see the right way to do something through the error,
or I see why someone told me to do something a certain way, for I've
learned the consequences of not doing it that way.
could be made, though--and I'll make it--that this type of thing could be
more effectively classified as error rather than mistake. In my
life, the mistakes are actions that affect me strongly in a very negative
way--I think about them for days, I regret them tremendously, and
sometimes I beat myself up emotionally over them, wishing I hadn't done
what I had done. I've been fortunate--I haven't made all that many
of this type of mistake, but they've been there.
thing for me to keep in mind about this type of mistake is that it
invariably affects other people very strongly. My actions have hurt
or offended others, and have taken away, if only a little bit, from the
positiveness of their lives. Their happiness or peace of mind is
diminished because of something I've done.
I've said something rude
or ignorant that was better left unsaid, or I've done something that hurts
someone else, or I've not taken someone's feelings into consideration
before taking an action. I've left someone out, or I've misjudged
someone or their actions.
A small example
of what I mean, from years ago when I was very young: We were on a
school bus, taking a field trip down to Chicago. I was sitting in
the front seat, and two girls were sitting behind me--one was Debbie, but
I don't remember who the other one was. Debbie started teasing me
mildly, and I tried teasing back, but it just didn't work. She kept
it up, nothing vicious and nothing mean, until I had just had
enough. I turned around and said something to the effect of
"Shut up, bitch." I was about 12, and I still hadn't
learned the strength of words.
The look on her
face taught me about that strength. She was crushed, and I could see
the shock and the hurt in her eyes and in her face. I shut her up,
definitely, but had it been worth it? Of course not.
I keep that
thought with me even today, a few decades later. I can't forget it
and I don't want to forget it, and here's why: I see two ways of
dealing with that memory. First of all, I can continue to be angry
with myself for having said what I said. I can call myself names
such as insensitive and rude and uncaring, and I can continue to feel bad,
diminishing my own enjoyment of my life and current situations. But
what does that accomplish? Does it help me? Not a bit.
The other option
is the one I choose to take with all of my mistakes--I learn from
it. I carry the look on Debbie's face with me, and I carry my own
reaction, the "what have I done?" feeling, and I use them to
help me determine future actions. Whenever I'm tempted to say
something rather harsh to someone else, no matter how deserving that
person may seem to be of my harshness, I think of the possible
consequences first, and I think of how Debbie felt that day, and how I
felt. I can't take back my words, but I can change the way I deal
with people in order to prevent such a thing from happening again. I
can try to be constructive and helpful and caring towards others rather
than vindictive and hateful and destructive.
example? Sort of, but as an illustration of how I go about trying to
learn from my mistakes, a perfect example. Too often, though, I see
others adding more mistakes to their original one--they get angry with
themselves, and they're unable to forgive themselves, and they make
themselves miserable, even sick, over things they've done that they can't
take back. It's not worth it, though. Learn from your mistakes
and move on, and don't make them again. Consider your avoidance of
such mistakes in the future as a tribute to the person or people you've
hurt, and I'm sure they'll be more than forgiving of you. If not,
then that becomes their problem, doesn't it?
Also worth note,
though, is the fact that I love to learn from the mistakes of
others. Growing up with an alcoholic father, I learned very early of
the pain and anguish that drinking can cause, and I'm very proud to say
that I've never been drunk in my life, and I've never caused another
person any pain because of addictive actions on my part. I was
fortunate, in a way, to learn this early, and move to the other side of
the spectrum. My brother and sister, on the other hand, both got
into alcohol and drugs rather extensively, and they're still battling
their addictions. They didn't see the results of my father's
actions, even though they lived with him, too, and they adopted the same
types of behavior. If you see a person making such a mistake in your
life, learn from that person, and don't make yourselves and others
miserable by adopting behavior that you have seen hurts others.
You're going to
make mistakes. You're human. Learn from them. Carry with
you the lessons from them, not the regret or the actions themselves.
Half of our
mistakes in life arise from feeling where we
to think, and thinking
where we ought to feel.
John Churton Collins
person who makes no mistakes
does not usually make anything.
William Connor Magee
never be ashamed to own they have been in the
which is but saying, in
other words, that they are
than they were yesterday.
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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because you made a mistake
doesn't mean you are a mistake.
Those who never made a mistake never made a
nothing final about a mistake,
except its being taken as final.
A blunder at the right moment is better than
cleverness at the wrong time.
had to live my life again I'd make
all the same
you must make a mistake,
make a new one each time.
Ironically, trying not
to make a mistake is probably the biggest mistake
we can make. Mistakes aren't bad. They just are.
We are not
mistakes ourselves; we just make them.
I know this may come as a shock to some, but mistakes can be
have noticed that when I feel really grounded and in balance, I almost
welcome mistakes. I most certainly get excited about them.
balanced eyes, they are our opportunity to learn, to grow, to expand.
Being cautious, on the other hand, can be stifling!
Anne Wilson Schaef
Meditations for Living in Balance
Admit your errors before someone else exaggerates
Andrew V. Mason
you canít make a mistake, you canít make anything.
times do we pay for one mistake? The answer is
thousands of times. The human is the only animal on earth
that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. The rest
of the animals pay once for every mistake they make. But not us.
We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves,
we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. If justice
then that was enough; we don't need to do it again. But every
time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again,
and we punish ourselves again, and again, and again. If we have
a wife or husband he or she also reminds us of the mistake, so we
can judge ourselves again, punish ourselves again,
and find ourselves guilty again. Is this fair?
Don Miguel Ruiz
Like most people, Aunt Hattie Mae explained, I saw my
failures--setbacks and defeats to disappoint, depress, or demoralize me.
What they really are, however, are opportunities. Because it is from
our mistakes that we learn the lessons we need to develop and grow. . . .
Mistakes aren't just our teachers; they're also our motivators. They
cause us to reexamine our choices, revise our plans, and, in some cases,
reconsider the way we live our lives. And change them for the
better. . . .
The person who makes no mistakes doesn't usually make anything.
And when you learn to see your mistakes for what they are--compulsory
education--the harder you fall, the higher you'll bounce.
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|How many mistakes did
you make this week? A full life requires thousands of
mistakes if you plan to live up to your creative potential.
When we are children, adults try to talk us out of making mistakes and we
confused. They are referring to life-threatening mistakes, but we
Check how open you are to mistakes. Can you stand it? Can you
you shy away from things you might not do well? Do you laugh at
seem clumsy or naive? Do you grit your teeth when someone you love
a mistake? Are you under the illusion that everyone is watching you
Start counting your mistakes on a daily basis and try to increase them by
ten percent. That will require you to stretch and grow. Try
other people's mistakes. Take risks; be tolerant of yourself and
others. . . .
Mistakes are the dues of a good and full life. Stretch and enjoy.
If error is
corrected whenever it is recognized as such,
the path of error is the path of truth.
Nature does not
require that we be perfect; it requires
only that we grow, and we can do this as well
from a mistake as from a success.
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|God knew we would make
mistakes. Life is all about mistakes.
It is constant change and growth. Our greatest challenges in life
will one day be known to us as our greatest teachers.
learning, growing and trying new things--expect mistakes.
They're a natural part of the learning process. In fact, someone
said, "If you're not making at least 50 mistakes a day, you're not
hard enough." What the person meant, we think, is that growth,
discovery and expansion have mistakes built into them.
To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes
may be the biggest mistake of all.
John-Roger and Peter McWilliams
believe that you should not be judged by the mistakes you've made
in life but rather should be judged by how you fix them.
Heart of the Team
We learn from our mistakes, and it is our job as adults to share the
we've painfully learned through experience in a positive and instructive
|How many times do we
pay for one mistake? The answer is thousands of
times. The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand
for the same mistake. The rest of the animals pay once for every
they make. But not us. We have a powerful memory. We
make a mistake,
we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish
justice exists, then that was enough; we don't need to do it again.
every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again,
and we punish ourselves again, and again, and again. If we have a
husband he or she also reminds us of the mistake, so we can judge
again, punish ourselves again, and find ourselves guilty again. Is
Don Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements
If you are terrified of making
mistakes, you will be reluctant to acknowledge them
when you do make them--and therefore you will not correct them.
If you are wise enough to base your self-esteem not on being
"right" but on
being rational--on being conscious--and on having integrity, then you
recognize that acknowledgement and correction of an error is not an
abyss into which you have fallen but a height you can take pride in having
is the trouble with many inventors; they lack patience. They lack the
willingness to work a thing out slowly and clearly and sharply in their
so that they can actually "feel it work." They want to try their
first idea right
off; and the result is they use up lots of money and lots of good
only to find eventually that they are working in the wrong direction. We
all make mistakes, and it is better to make them before we begin.
|You know, by the time
you've reached my age, you've made
plenty of mistakes if you've lived your life properly.
If you have made
mistakes, there is always another chance for you. . .
you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing
we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down.
young apprentice applied to a master carpenter for
a job. The older man asked him, "Do you know your
trade?" "Yes, sir!" the young man replied
you ever made a mistake?" the older man inquired. "No,
sir!" the young man answered, feeling certain he would
get the job. "Then there's no way I'm going to hire you,"
said the master carpenter, "because when you make one,
you won't know how to fix it."
World According to Mr. Rogers