“A person who makes few mistakes makes little progress” –Bryant McGill
When I was in grade school, the teachers would keep a poster board with each child’s name and the results of the weekly spelling test. If you received 100% on the test, you were gifted with a gold star. I remember studying the poster board with intensity to make sure that I had gold stars for every week of the year. Did you really do poorly if you received a 95% on the test? Of course not. It was graded as an A.
But still, it certainly wasn’t gold star material. The reality was that the 95% didn’t display perfection— you had made a mistake.
The need for perfection is ingrained in each one of you during your formative years. You learn at a very young age that the goal is to not make any errors. Completing each task perfectly will be rewarded, while making mistakes will not. If you don’t believe me, just look at the attention a young adult receives for acing their College ACT exam. I admit, it is quite a feat; however, if the same young adult makes a few mistakes on the exam, they don’t receive near the same fanfare for such an extraordinary accomplishment.
I tend to think that making mistakes can be a healthy and much needed experience in life.
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new” –Albert Einstein
Being fearful of making mistakes in life can hold you back from trying new experiences.
I learned how to ski when I was 40 years old. I would rate my skiing skills as intermediate. I’m not a phenomenal skier but I can hold my own and I don’t embarrass myself too much. I’ve been told that I look pretty good coming down the mountain— that’s enough for me. However, I certainly do my fair share of falling. In fact, the first time I fall during each ski trip is always a relief. I think to myself, “glad I got that out of the way”. Frankly, I think that my willingness to make a mistake (and take my share of falls) is the reason that I can enjoy the sport. I might not be the best, but I still can have a great time.
Making mistakes can be an opportunity for growth.
Life is about taking risks and sometimes failing at your endeavors. Although none of us enjoy the experience of “messing up,” it often teaches you much more than one where you succeed. While you’re going through the process, it can seem like it’s the end of the world. However, as crazy as it sounds, you need those opportunities in life to make a mistake and then be forced to make things right. As painful as the experience can be, they help you grow and develop into your absolute best self.
We all make mistakes now and then but it’s important to remember: Making a mistake can lead you to an even better place in life.