Many of us go around trying to avoid making mistakes. We are afraid of the consequences of our decisions, and it limits us from trying out ideas that we are drawn to. But is this the best way for us to view the mistakes we’ve made in our lives, and those we will make in the future? Let’s see what we can learn from some of the world’s most influential people.
1. Making Mistakes Help Us to Perfect Ourselves
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
– Albert Einstein
Wise words from a genius! The statement says a lot about keeping the right perspective when we think of making mistakes as something we should avoid at all costs. Learning, in essence, is making a series of errors until you finally get it right. As humans, we seem to have this tendency to praise perfection, but often dismiss the fact that the journey to maturity is a long one; usually marked by discipline, sacrifice, and many, many mistakes.
2. Making Mistakes Allows Us The Freedom To Experiment and Learn
“The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
Much can be said about the fear instilled in us since childhood; of living up to a threshold of what is acceptable, moral, right, or enough. These ideas have the power to close off multiple possibilities so that we never allow ourselves to experiment because someone told us that we couldn’t, we shouldn’t, or we weren’t capable. It is at times hard not to envy a child’s naivety, hopefulness, and faith until a certain age. The age where they understand that not everything is possible. I do love the statement: you won’t know until you try. It gives freedom to experiment, learn, and to try new things. Along the way, there is so much room to learn about ourselves and the world around us.
3. Making Mistakes Give Us Life Experience
“A failure is not always a mistake; it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”
– B.F. Skinner
There are indeed times where in retrospect, we see that the decisions we made did not benefit us; under specific criteria. They did not help us to advance in a career path, relationship, or to pursue a goal. But that does not mean the experience itself was useless. We probably did learn quite a lot about what we want and don’t want. We learned information about that particular situation which we may encounter again down the line, and next time we will be better equipped to handle. Mistakes are part of what constitutes the much-valued concept of life-experience. Taking the good with the bad is all about seeing the benefit in all of the diversity of moments that life has to offer.
Ultimately, I think Nike got it right with their famous slogan; Just Do It.