Are Mistakes Enemies, Friends, Or Teachers?

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, metaphorically speaking, like an enemy, a friend or a teacher?

All us 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? I think one good thing we can do is treat them as a type of person. What does that mean? It means, metaphorically, to treat a mistake as though it’s 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 uncouth saying goes, “s**t happens,” and so do mistakes. Yes, they happen and they happen to be a regular part of life. Suppose we view them as “people” and 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!

“My name is Mr. MISTAKE. Am I your enemy, friend or teacher?”

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.

Mistakes as enemies? Only if we want to set ourselves up for failure in the future.

Mistakes as friends? Only if we want to face the problem (mistake) now, without developing the tools to avoid it in the future.

Mistakes as teachers? Only if we want to turn the mistake into a positive and learn how not to repeat it.

Is a mistake an enemy, a friend or a teacher?

A Teacher, of course!:-)

2 Comments on “Are Mistakes Enemies, Friends, Or Teachers?”

  1. If you aren’t a teacher in your 8-5 daytime life, you should be. If you are retired, how about being a teacher volunteer?

    I love you writing and the fact that each piece starts with a question and that your write a reason and respectful answer!


  2. Renee,

    Thanks for the comment. I was a teacher for thirty-one years. I’m now retired and this is my way for being a “teacher volunteer.” :-)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: