Life is full of lessons, and mistakes are our teachers. Life is full of choices, many of which involve whether or not we are willing to learn from our mistakes. Will we pull the task apart to see how the mistake developed, so we can learn what caused it and, from that, learn how to prevent it? Will we regret not being such perfect super-humans that we never make mistakes?—so we give up and quit trying and go on to live a life of regretting our sense of hopeless helplessness? Or, will we, in all our modern-day hurry, waste time doing it over and over again, all the while hoping to somehow get it right by accident?

Losers, I’ve been told, are those who cannot learn from their mistakes. The strain of “plowing through” wears them down so they feel too tired to learn. Their lives are a series of unaddressed mistakes that have ganged up on them over the years until now they feel overwhelmed. Whether reports for work or school, tasks for the office or at our factory job, for our farm or store, mistakes are part of our lives. Being extra smart doesn’t help in avoidance, it makes justification easier so smarter people can avoid learning from them.

Finding, recognizing, and then acknowledging them may seem hard, but getting yourself to admit that your humanity requires fallibility for you to be anywhere near normalcy requires your acceptance. Judging from my own experience as an average person, it might require several lifetimes to achieve perfection, and that’s if we can eliminate old mistakes without introducing new ones. We should live so long!

Does that make it feel like it’s not worth all the effort? Think about it, and view it as a series of intentional accomplishments. Each accomplishment means everything to follow will be easier, eventually. Making drastic alterations to correct discovered flaws will arouse suspicions and hurt some feelings. You may, at first, find yourself doing a lot of explaining. Curiosity, jealousy, doubt, and many negative feelings will prompt comments and questions you may wish you had never heard. Corrections made will yield awareness of corrections yet to be made. I have been through this process. It took decades to get here. I am not perfect, but remain a work in progress, still learning new things and making new discoveries. The big difference is that I have gained confidence and learned to trust myself and my own honesty, and to actually like the person I have grown into.


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