Do you ever make a mistake? Of course you do. Who doesn’t make a mistake? No one! Are all mistakes alike? Of course not. So, what does a mistake mean to you? Would you say a mistake is like an enemy, a friend or a teacher?
The questions in the above paragraph are all about mistakes. We make all kinds of mistakes. Some mistakes are small, like mispronouncing a word, and some mistakes are big, like the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Most people try to limit their mistakes and limit is all anyone can do. We cannot entirely eliminate mistakes from our life. Since we can’t eliminate them, then what should we do about the inevitable fact that we will make mistakes? Treat them as a type of person. What does that mean? It means, metaphorically, treating them as a person we can learn from. Ok, so how do we do that?
First of all, we generally dislike mistakes. They cause us to be confused and embarrassed. Mistakes often lower our self-esteem. But, as the old saying goes, s**t happens and so do mistakes. Yes, they happen and they happen to be a regular part of life. But, if we view them as people, then we could think of each mistake as an enemy, a friend or a teacher. Which would be best? Let’s think about how we deal with each.
Our enemies are people that we generally avoid. Treating a mistake like an enemy has merit in that we want to avoid it. But, as stated before, we will always make mistakes. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to completely avoid mistakes, so treating them as enemies only sets us up for failure. We will end up spending our time avoiding instead of facing and solving our problem of making the mistake.
Our friends are people that we generally like and want to be with. Treating a mistake like a friend also has some merit in that we are now facing our problem. But just “befriending” our mistake doesn’t necessarily give us the tools to avoid it in the future. Instead, by “befriending” the mistake, we are encouraging it to occur again. Ouch!
Our teachers are people that we learn from. Treating a mistake like a teacher, allows us to take a negative and turn it into a positive. When we make mistakes and treat them like teachers, we will find they are very demanding teachers. Like a demanding teacher, we will reassess our goals, look at different points of view, retrace our steps, repair any damage and reflect on the lesson learned. Perhaps, the most important result is allowing the mistake to become a lesson learnt.
Is a mistake an enemy, a friend or a teacher? A Teacher, of course!
Help me with my mistakes by making a “teaching” comment. :-)