The value of mistakes

Sarah writes…

When he was five, my son bounded out of school into my arms and announced ‘I made a brilliant mistake today mummy’.

He was proud of his mistake, because he understood mistakes as helping us to learn, and nothing to be ashamed of.

Imagine if you put such a spin on the mistakes that you make.  My lived experience is that not many of us do.

Many of the people I work with and know personally feel shame and/or horror when they make mistakes, judging themselves harshly, showing little self-compassion or understanding.  They imagine that the mistake will make them less likeable or fear abandonment.

I know that mistakes don’t make me like people any less; just like big achievements don’t make me like people any more.   I like people because of who they are, not what they achieve.

Mistakes are part of our learning process, one of my favourite quotes comes from Samuel Smiles, who says:

“We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.”

Imagine the difference to our lives if we saw mistakes, not as failures but as part of our learning process paving the way to success!