It’s true. We all make mistakes. Every single one of us. Sometimes they are due to carelessness. Sometimes they are due to a lack of knowledge. Sometimes they are due to being tired. Or hungry. Or being in a mood. Or sometimes they are due to just being distracted.
So why do we make mistakes? What is their purpose? And why do we feel so icky when we make them?
Let’s talk about learning for a minute. Do you learn stuff when you do everything correctly? If you were to sit in a first grade classroom, (assuming you are an adult), would you learn much? Or how about a preschool or kindergarten classroom? Likely not. Because we don’t learn anything when we already know the material. We don’t learn anything when we do everything right. We don’t learn anything when things are easy. It’s just not how it works.
So you may be asking, “well, when DO we learn?” The answer is simple although typically not what people want to hear. We learn when things are hard. We learn when we screw things up. We learn when we fail. We learn when we are open to hearing new things and evaluating our performance and/or behavior. We learn, quite simply, when we make mistakes.
See, mistakes are our teachers. They are meant to show us opportunities to do things differently, more effectively, more efficiently, and correctly. Sure, it’s nice to get it right on the first try. But…what did you learn? Did you learn something new? No. Did you learn about perseverance? No. Did you learn how to push through disappointment and/or discomfort? No. You learned nothing.
Now, when things do not go our way, learning opportunities are everywhere! We can learn the material better. We can get faster. We can become more accurate and precise. We can become more efficient. Mistakes, while often yucky and uncomfortable, are really just gifts. And without these, we would not grow, learn, change, or develop. We would stay exactly where we are. And that’s just not what we are meant to do. We are meant to grow and learn and change and develop. We have mistakes to thank for that.
So three cheers to learning and three cheers to improving! And a quick thanks to a huge catalyst for change – making mistakes.