Let’s be honest. We, as humans, are imperfect, and we will make mistakes. We can handle these mistakes in one of two ways. We can either get embarrassed and wallow in self pity, or we can use these mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.
The question of whether mistakes are bad or not isn’t always easy to answer. I’m not talking about the obvious ones that cause financial ruin and death. I’m talking about the little mistakes that most people get embarrassed by, like taking the wrong road and getting lost, or forgetting an ingredient in a recipe.
Sometimes our mistakes can actually have a positive result. A few years ago, I was at the beach looking for subjects to take pictures of, when I happened on a small shell. I thought the lines on it would make a perfect texture shot. I was making sure to get the shell in perfect focus so that I wouldn’t lose any of the detail, but I was concentrating so much on the shell that I didn’t realize that the water was heading right for me. I gently pressed down on the shutter, and that’s when I noticed the water filling the lower half of the frame. I jumped to avoid the water at the same time as tripping the shutter. My first thought was, “There was a wasted shot.” because when the water went out, it took the shell with it. Imagine my surprise when I had the film developed and found not only the water half way up the print in perfect focus, but the shell was still in focus, and the water was just starting to surround it. You couldn’t plan better timing. It just goes to show that even a mistake can end good.
Mistakes also show us that we still have a long way to go, and that we will always have opportunities to grow. I personally feel that life would be pretty boring without them. We would never know our own limitations, or have the chance to work around them.
By accepting our own imperfections, we open ourselves to what life has to teach us, and maybe a few surprise happy endings.
Challenge: Instead of being embarrassed by your mistakes, try to see what you can gain from them. You might be surprised.