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
our mistakes that we learn the lessons we need to develop and grow. . . .
wish my students these days would make more
mistakes. I'm teaching Spanish at a
university, and the major problem in class is that my
students don't speak enough because they're afraid of
making mistakes. But mistakes are absolutely
necessary when one is learning a language, and the more a
person makes, the better that person gets in speaking the
language. But our society has deemed mistakes to be
something "bad," and if you don't take a risk,
you won't make mistakes, and you won't be judged.
In languages, I generally have to make a mistake three
times before I actually learn the correct way to say
something. If I'm changing an outlet in my house, of
course, a mistake can be very costly, so my tolerance for
mistakes is much lower, but in general I'm fine with
making them. I learn a lot from my mistakes, and I
become a better person not just for having made them, but
for having acknowledged them and done my best to correct
them. When I say something stupid to someone, for
example, that's a mistake that I can't undo, but I can
apologize for it and put it behind me.
Any time we take a risk, we're probably going to make
mistakes. Any time we do something we haven't done
before, it's best that we make lots of mistakes early so
that we get good at it sooner. Unfortunately, many
people see those early mistakes as reasons not to keep
with it, and they give up because of mistakes before they
get a chance to get good at what they're doing, which is
when they're going to enjoy it much, much more.
Make mistakes. Let them teach you, and let them
motivate you to do better in the future. But don't
let them discourage you. Our mistakes are among the
most important things that we'll ever make in life, and
the more we make, the more we learn and grow.