I have never met anyone who had never made a mistake. I did hear about one person who said he thought he had made a mistake once, but he was wrong! For the rest of us, making mistakes goes right along with the risks that are a natural part of life. Little children routinely make mistakes as a part of learning to play. Kindergarten and first-grade teachers keep extra clothes because often children make mistakes about bodily functions and the frequency of needing to use the bathroom.
Learning things like arithmetic and spelling as well as sounding out words while learning to read involve trying, which consists of a combination of success and the making of mistakes. Discovering those things that tend to lead to more victories than errors helps us figure out the direction in our lives that lead to the most satisfaction. As we move through life, both the consequences of our mistakes and the positive outcomes of our success should combine to form the people we come to be as adults.
As we move through the teen years and into adulthood, more and more of the things that happen in our lives depend on the choices we make. We choose the friends we associate with, the activities we invest our time and energy in and the direction our life rakes as we reach the point where the decisions and the outcomes we experience are ours.
As behavior patterns and habits become established in us as adults, we will continue to make mistakes. While the premise behind our making mistakes while growing up was that we would learn from our mistakes and grow from having made them, we find that often as adults our mistakes become ingrained patterns of behavior. It would be easy to assemble a list of errors people make over and over, seemingly learning nothing from them. Take a minute and ask yourself what mistakes of that type are part of your life. What do you do over and over, telling yourself you will change?
Are there things you have resigned yourself to in your life? There is no benefit to be obtained from these mistakes. Their outcome is predictable. Making the same mistakes over and over can lead to discouragement and boredom. We might even come to the point of merely being resigned to living a life we believe we are powerless to change. Is there any part of your life that feels like that?
At specific points in our lives, we may want to consider making the kind of changes that seemed so exciting earlier in our lives. Now that we are more mature and hopefully wiser, we may see once again a vision of what is possible. What might happen if we were to make one or more of these changes? Many things might happen.
One thing that is apparent is that we will make mistakes. When we try new things, some will work and some won’t. The critical thing in this circumstance is to create different blunders. Make mistakes from which we will learn and grow. Make new mistakes from which lives–ours and others’ will be better.
As we move forward, let’s resolve to learn from and be guided by the past. Let us decide not to be limited by the past. I honestly believe I have learned more from the mistakes I have made than from the things I have done right. As I look to the future, I am excited about the possibilities. I want as many of the mistakes I will make to be new ones, mistakes from which I will learn and grow. I hope I never become discouraged about past mistakes or afraid of creating new ones. I hope you feel the same way.
–David C. Bloom,
CEO of IHS Services, Inc.
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