There’s a false truth that many of us live by. It’s the idea that “adults should know better” and that by the time we have reached a certain maturation point we no longer should be making mistakes.
We all make mistakes—all the time. Everything from typing the wrong address into your phone, to dating someone who turns out to be all-wrong for you—we all make mistakes.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that making the same mistake over and over again is excusable. What did Einstein say? Something about the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again, expecting a different result? If we keep making the same bad choices over and over again, there’s clearly something wrong with our decision-picker.
No, I’m just saying that every minute of every day we are faced with a dizzying array of choices to make—from what sandwich to order at the deli, to whether you need to buy life insurance before you get-hit-by-a-bus.
If we made the right choice, at the right time, all of the time, we’d be…um, well, perfect. And no one is perfect.
The reality is, we’re human—not super human, and we are vulnerable to making the wrong choice—of date; of sandwich; of life insurance, from time to time. Just because you’ve lived longer doesn’t mean you’ve been given every opportunity to “learn from your mistakes” in every situation.
I think we can all learn from our mistakes—and our triumphs for that matter. There are just too many variables in life to be prepared, composed, informed, and mature about every one of them. We’re all flawed in our own perfect way, and there’s no getting around the fact that we can’t avoid every slip-up, bad decision and questionable choice that’s presented to us each day.
I believe that I learn something new everyday, and that every decision I make is informed by my previous actions and observations, but that still doesn’t mean I’m not prone to poor choices now and again.
The reality is, the best we can do, is TRY to learn from our mistakes, and learn how to recover-well from them. You see, how you recover from bad choices is the thing that stays with you forever. After a bad break-up, or losing a job (or a good deal of money), if you can look back and say you did your very-best, and made some good choices mixed in with the bad, you’ll end up happier and smarter than if you never looked introspectively at the bad situation.
Lord knows I haven’t been the perfect boyfriend, worker, or boss; but if I feel I have, by-in-large, done my best and learned valuable lessons from my errors. I live at relative peace with myself and live a happier life by not kicking myself endlessly throughout the day for the decisions I have made.
Yes, we are all imperfect souls, and we must not only be kind to ourselves when we make mistakes, but also when others make questionable choices as well. The trick is to learn humility and patience when facing the endless torrent of errors headed our way.
Many years ago, I had a boss who lived by the motto, “I reserve the right to get smarter,”—postulating that even though he might not make the right decision, at the right time, all of the time, at least he could forgive the error of his ways, learn something from it, and expect a little humble forgiveness from others.
Not a bad philosophy, I say.
Couple faced with a choice image courtesy of Shutterstock