When was the last time you made a real ripsnorter of a mistake?
I don’t mean some little misstep which resulted in a few minutes of inconvenience or a slight alteration in your route. I am talking about the type of mistake that you reflect on continuously for a long time, the type that matters, that changes your path.
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”
~ dryly observed by Oscar Wilde
I like the attitude here, but have a quibble …
We all make mistakes, since we are human and therefore not perfect. Many of us also hate admitting that we have made a mistake, so we reframe our mistakes as “experience”, which does have a much nicer ring to it.
However, I wonder if we do ourselves a disservice when we try to tidy up our mistakes by rebranding them … and that is exactly what we do when we call a real screw-up a “learning experience”.
We will learn much more when we correctly and humbly identify a really big mistake as exactly that … a mistake. A mistake is when you are wrong or misguided … period. You do not automatically learn something when you make a mistake, except in tangible actions like touching a hot stove burner or doubting your spouse’s decisions. Most mistakes require reflection in order to learn from them.
Yes, mistakes should be learning experiences … but before they can be vehicles for our learning, we might just need to recognize them for what they truly are … an “oops”. Continue reading