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10 Reasons Why Not Making Mistakes Is The Biggest Mistake in Life

10 Reasons Why Not Making Mistakes Is The Biggest Mistake in Life

“To err is human…” but is it necessary? Believe it or not, it’s widely believed that not making mistakes could be the worst mistake you ever make.

George Bernard Shaw said, “A life spent making mistakes is better than a life spent doing nothing.” And this is largely true. Without mistakes, we don’t know the things we like doing and we don’t learn how to improve. If most inventions and methods are improved through trial and error – not erring would mean rarely improving.

Here are 10 reasons why not making mistakes could be the biggest mistake in life:

1. Making mistakes teach us valuable lessons.

Vincent Van Gogh said, “Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes.Only when I fall do I get up again.”

Making mistakes whether in relationships, work life, school or other endeavors is the key to figuring out the things we want to do and how we want to act. Only when we fail at these things can we see where we went wrong and take action to correct them. Did you hover over your girlfriend and act jealously until she felt smothered? Now you know that giving a loved one space is part of a healthy — and longer lasting — relationship.

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2. Mistakes teach us to be forgiving.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain

Recognizing your own mistakes makes it easier to understand others’ mistakes when they happen — especially if they have directly affected you. Did you lend someone your car, only to have them crash it? Have you ever crashed a car? Or broken something that belonged to someone else? You will likely be more apt to forgive the offender knowing from where they came.

3. Mistakes help us let go of our fears.

“You can only go forward by making mistakes,” Alexander McQueen

Some people are afraid to make mistakes. Or they are afraid to try things at which they won’t be good. How can you get good at something without trying — and failing — at it first? When I first started mushing dogs, I was not good at it. My dogs tangled up. I fell off the sled at every turn. Frankly, I was a bruised up mess for a while. In fact, I was often a little afraid to go out on the sled, knowing what large tree or sharp turn I might encounter. But I kept getting back on the sled and learned to adjust my riding accordingly — becoming more athletic in the meantime. If I had let my constant mistakes and fear get the better of me, I might not be training for the Iditarod now.

4. Making mistakes is essential to living a life without regrets.

“A man’s mistakes are his portals of discovery.” – James Joyce

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How can you discover the things you like and don’t like unless you make mistakes? Maybe you think you want to be a chef so you get a job in a restaurant and they are the worst days you have ever spent. Perhaps you feel like you’ve wasted your time and it was a huge mistake to take on that job. But how would you know unless you tried it? At the end of your life, do you want to look back and see that you only made the “right” choices or wonder what might have been? If you hadn’t tried working in that restaurant you might have gone your whole life thinking you could have been a great chef — and never known how much you actually would have hated it. Mistakes mean a life without regrets.

5. Mistakes help you grow as a person.

“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde

And boy do I have a lot of experience at this point! I’ve made lots of mistakes but it gives me a lot of perspective as well. If I hadn’t taken those turns or gone down those paths — even when they quickly became obvious they were the wrong ones — I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I also would not appreciate my life as much as I do. If everything had come easily, the things I’ve been able to achieve wouldn’t mean as much. I can also be a more accepting and forgiving person overall, knowing how much I’ve screwed up in my own life at times.

6. Mistakes can be fun.

“There are some people who live 70 years, and there some people who live one year 70 times, repeating what they’re doing over and over in the name of the gold watch or whatever.” – Wayne Dyer

OK, maybe it’s not the right kind of fun. And maybe we shouldn’t have done that thing we did. But at least at the end of your years, you won’t have lived the same exact year every year. Mix it up. Try new things. Spending each day in the same way getting the same undesirable result is not only boring, it’s a mistake in and of itself.

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7. Mistakes lead to success.

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Chinese Proverb

Most people who are an “overnight success” took years to get where they are. Do you have a goal in mind? A business you want to pursue or a race you want to win? Go look up those people in your field that you admire and find out how long and hard they worked to get where they are. While you don’t have to emulate their struggles, simply recognizing that they didn’t get where they are right away is a huge step in your own success. Everyone takes odd paths and has hard times. The more mistakes you make, the faster you will realize how much you want to do that thing you want to do — and whether or not it’s worth it.

8. Mistakes inspire us.

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”. – Edmund Burke

Did you break it? Do it wrong? Make it the wrong way? Screw it up? Whatever “it” is, it’s likely that if you broke it, you’ll have to fix it. Or if you did it wrong, you’ll have to do it again. The more often you have to try something or do something new, the more inspired you get to fix it and do it right. Keep working at it. Take a break and then do it again. Let your mistakes fire you up for success.

9. Mistakes serve as a warning.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

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Sometimes mistakes don’t signal a route to success, instead they serve as a warning we should heed. Did you drive a car under the influence and almost hit a person? Did you go to a party and almost lose your job for not making it into work on time the next day? Different mistakes can mean different things and mistakes where we put our selfish desires before our responsibilities can mean trouble — but they can also serve as a warning. Heed those warnings and try to avoid making them again, so you can move forward and succeed in your journey.

10. Mistakes allow us to see how we are like others.

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – John Powell

Let’s be honest, we all think we’re pretty special. Anything we do, any mistake we make, we often feel like we are the only one to experience it in the way we do. Unfortunately, that’s entirely untrue. With 7 billion people on the planet, the likelihood that we are the first to make a certain mistake — or the first to feel a certain way is really unlikely. I hate to break it to you, but you’re not special. And neither am I. But that’s OK. We are special to certain people in our lives and we can still enjoy those moments that are special to us. The greatest advantage to making mistakes is learning that we are just like other people. This gives us more empathy for others — no matter how different from us they are — and the understanding that no matter what we’ve done wrong, someone else has likely done it before.

Featured photo credit: Teenage girl depression – lost love – isolated on white background via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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