By Herbert Mtowo
Mistakes are great teachers. Success comes to those who are willing to risk making mistakes in the pursuit of a goal, and who are able to learn from those mistakes. And in order to learn from mistakes, you must be willing to pay for them.
If you are not making mistakes, you aren’t doing anything important. You probably aren’t learning anything, either, if everything you do is done perfectly every single time. Learning is a process of trial and error. No trial, no error, no learning.
When you look to others to pay for your mistakes, then you deprive yourself of the opportunity to learn from them. When something goes wrong, it’s usually very easy to find someone else to blame. But what does that really accomplish? Much of the value of mistakes comes from the fact that they exact a cost which must be paid. The person who learns the most from a mistake is the person who pays the price for that mistake.
The facts are irrefutable and beyond question. Mistakes are essential for learning, improvement, productivity and creativity. Mistakes supply feedback for corrective action, contingent options or improvements. If you make no mistakes, you rarely learn much.
Every time I’ve asked people to think of the most painful mistake ever made in their whole life and consider if they would wish the memory to be wiped out, they hesitate. When confronted with the choice of keeping their most painful memory or literally forgetting about it, having it removed from their minds so they will remember nothing about it, they always eventually answer, “no.” Their answer usually surprises them; but when you think about it, you realize that painful feedback is important feedback. You learned from it. The person you are today is a product of all those memories and experiences, good and bad, happy and sad, joyful and painful. Lose the memory of your painful mistake and you lose part of your identity, because that lesson made you who you are today.
No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Let’s learn from them rather than let them rule and ruin our lives. When you make a mistake, the last thing you want to do is run from it. Rather, own up to it. There is much value to be had when you claim it. The mistake has been made, so make the most of it. Pay the price, learn the lesson, and grow that much stronger.