A colleague said to me yesterday, “Everyone makes mistakes. Some are good mistakes, some are bad.” She said it rather innocently, but what she said was so profound.
I like the expression “good mistake”. Mistakes are always perceived as negative or bad. But so often, what we think of as mistakes turn out to be favourable to us. No, it does not happen with purpose or design. In fact a mistake is always labelled as one only in hindsight. A good mistake is one that we make in our ignorance (or arrogance) and afterwards when we realise it didn’t serve us, we tag is as a mistake. Yet, with time we realise it was not a mistake at all. Better still, it was a good mistake. Because in the long-term, the perspective changes and we begin to accept that whatever happened was for the best.
The choices we make, the decisions we take are subject to a myriad of forces outside our control, many of them unpredictable. From that perspective, mistakes are indispensable to success in life. The only way to avoid them is to do nothing — and that is a BIG mistake.
Lloyd Jones said, “The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.” Inaction and indecisiveness is the cornerstone of a dull, boring, uninteresting life. When we are afraid of “mistakes” and avoid making them, we are turning away joy, excitement and a richer life.