Embracing Your Mistakes and Failures
I have been chatting with students recently about their college experiences. Many of them shared memories of the mistakes they had made in their 20s, as well as the anxiety they caused. Yikes, I could totally relate. What were we thinking? Really though, not getting a perfect grade on a project isn’t going to ruin your life!
We stress out about making the wrong choices, and I blame the older generation. They view so much of what millennials are doing as failure, and they don’t “get” that things are different now. We don’t have to get married, buy a house and have kids right away. Instead, we can travel the world for ten years, or even change careers a couple of times before settling down.
Living life is not a mistake. The world is not linear. If you do A, then B does not automatically happen. Circumstances are different and things change, sometimes even day to day, and we need to accept and embrace that there is no roadmap to life.
So instead of dwelling on past disappointments, let’s start thinking of the benefits of making mistakes, so we don’t experience any more guilt about living our life the way it was meant to be lived:
- Build critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Demonstrates real-world consequences
- Develops and forms values.
- Helps us feel humility
- Shows us to what we don’t know.
- Points out the problems in our lives.
- Shows us alternative, or more creative, paths to take.
So, all of that being said, how do we prepare for mistakes? In my experiences, I have found that there are three simple ways to approach life’s inevitable slip-ups:
- Understand that they are a crucial part of your development.
- Adopt an open and experimental mindset (“trial and error”).
- Be gentle with yourself.
Knowing that making mistakes is not only normal, but a part of the process of human development, will make each misstep you encounter easier to deal with than the one before. Failure is a delay, not defeat. You are not a failure unless you completely stop trying.
Thanks for listening!