Importance Of Mistakes: Learning From Mistakes

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“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.” You know who said that? Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM. He single-handedly revolutionized the world of computers. I mean, where would be now without computers. There would be no moon landing, no internet, and no social media. It’s astonishing really, to think where we would be if people didn’t understand the importance of mistakes. If we were afraid of failing and making mistakes, our world would be so empty and shallow. Many of the great inventions that we use in our everyday lives would not exist. Mistakes are essential to our lives and it’s important to understand that and I believe that these three sources best depict that. The book The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes written by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein, brilliantly illustrates the importance of mistakes and shows us that it’s okay to make mistakes. In the book, we see a girl named Beatrice, who has never made a mistake in her life. But on one particular day, she almost makes a mistake. Because of this, she begins to lose confidence in herself and doesn’t do things that she might make a mistake while doing. But during a talent show, she accidentally grabs the pepper instead of the salt for her juggling act. This causes her hamster to sneeze and ruin her juggling act. But instead of feeling down on herself, she laughed. 

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She has spent all her life stressing to be perfect, but at this moment, she finally realized that it was okay to make mistakes. That night, she went to bed and slept better than she ever had before because she didn’t feel the need to be perfect anymore. The next day, she did all the things that she was afraid of doing before and embraced the mistakes instead of avoiding them. This is evident when Sarah goes skating with her friends the next day. “Beatrice found Millie and Sarah skating in the park. They fell a lot and laughed.” Because she was not afraid of making mistakes, she took new chances and tried new things. Understanding that mistakes are not bad allows people to live their lives to the fullest extent. In an article written by Alina Tugend from CNN, she beautifully explains the importance of mistakes. She stated that understanding that mistakes are crucial and inevitable allows us to do things outside of our comfort zone. It’s extremely important in life to understand that mistakes are not bad and that we should not be afraid to make mistakes. As she brilliantly said, “When we fear looking dumb, when we emphasize results over process and effort because we’re afraid of messing up, then we’re going to miss a lot of what’s fun and stimulating in life.” She also discusses the positive repercussions of making mistakes and not seeing mistakes as a failure, but as a guide to what still needs to be learned. 

As the great Thomas Edison said, “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” Making a mistake is a crucial step in being better than you were before. Understanding how to fail, come back, and work harder is crucial to succeeding. We’re all going to make mistakes, but the ones who make it, are the people who take responsibility for their mistakes and try to learn from them. She shows us throughout this article that mistakes are not inherently bad and that we should see them as a blessing in disguise. Lastly, we see the importance of mistakes shown throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender. We see this, especially from the main antagonist of the show, Prince Zuko. His main goal across the majority of the series is to capture the Avatar and earn his father’s and the Fire Nation’s respect. He is obsessed, disrespectful, and has a backwards sense of right and wrong. But despite how deeply rooted his flaws are, Zuko still redeems himself. And that is widely due to his uncle who truly understands that failure is the best teacher. 

We see that for a lot of people, it is extremely hard for them to admit their mistakes until they have reached their lowest point. And ironically, Zuko’s lowest point is getting everything he has ever wanted. He finally realizes how unfulfilling defeating the Avatar really is and after realizing his mistakes, he learns from them and in turn, becomes a better person because of them. We see this happen in season 3, episode 11. “After I leave here today, I'm going to free Uncle Iroh from his prison and I'm going to beg for his forgiveness. [...] But I've come to an even more important decision. I'm going to join the Avatar. And I'm going to help him defeat you.” After understanding his mistakes and learning from them, he essentially stops the 100-year war. We see from Zuko that there is no better teacher than experience and we can only gain that experience by making mistakes. Until recently, I did not understand the importance of mistakes. For a long time, I believed that making mistakes were a bad thing. I thought that if someone made a mistake, that they were a failure. But I finally realize that the problem with seeing people as failures for their mistakes is that everyone makes mistakes. People don’t become good despite their mistakes, they become good because of their mistakes. Mistakes are not evil. Mistakes are necessary.

Mistakes are inevitable. Mistakes don’t mean you’re a bad human being, they just mean you’re a human being. And after being shown a great deal of forgiveness for a mistake that I made, I too finally understood the importance of mistakes. Learning this has ultimately turned me into a better, more understanding and empathetic person. I truly believe that we all need to understand the importance of mistakes in order for us to become better people. So go out and make some mistakes because mistakes, ultimately, are good. 

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