I was meditating the other day, and the idea for a blog came to me: “Write about Making Mistakes” I started thinking about mistakes a few days ago after realizing I made a “bad” choice about something I recently purchased. I won’t go into detail but suffice to say, I paid a lot for something I am barely using. If I had only made a slightly different choice, I would have come home with something better suited for my needs. This is just the sort of “mistake” I am prone to spending lots of time and energy thinking and stressing about after the fact.
What is a mistake? Miriam Webster says, “A misunderstanding. A wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention”. I would say that almost all the purchasing mistakes I have made proceed from some combination of these factors, but mainly from inadequate knowledge. I simply did not have all the information I needed and at the time of purchase, did not even know I needed it. So then, if I lacked knowledge, and did not know I needed more information, why would I berate myself later? My belief is that socialization through family, religion, educational institutions that insist on competitive models of learning, through rigorous testing, hard playing, etc. teach us to think and feel that “losing” or getting something “wrong” is sinful or bad. We end up punishing ourselves, through various kinds of obsession and rumination, such as trying to “ undo” or “redo” the situation. Not a great use of energy and time.
Many personal decisions get made based on our faulty judgment or choosing not to face something we don’t want to face. How many of us check in with three practical friends before making some impulsive decision that turns out to have a costly outcome? At the time, we don’t want to see what we don’t want to see. It’s that simple and sometimes that hidden.
And of course, there are “mistakes” made when we’re artistically involved in a project that turn out to be brilliant and unforeseen creations. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Personally, I prefer a life with much experimentation and risk taking because all in all, I enjoy learning from “most of my mistakes.”