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Failure: It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

Updated on April 16, 2015

Gotta go make my own mistakes…

One of the biggest fears in life that people have is fear of failure.

It’s especially true nowadays in this down economy. I was only reading the other day how a lot of men who are breadwinners in the family struggle to cope with all the pressure that is put upon them. Some of these businessmen, over the years, have lost their homes, their wives, kids, and their jobs and are hounded by banks as they are drowning in debt. The stress also makes it harder to please their wives sexually, enojt time with their families, and this creates more stress, and so the cycle goes.

We’ve all failed at something in life, great or small, at least once but most likely many or even countless times.

I failed Mathematics at the end of Grade 9.

I was good at math in primary school, but as soon as I got to high school, it got hard. I found that I could cope with geometry but algebra and some of the other more complex things like trigonometry baffled me.

The thing is, it's hard to get a job anywhere without math and science..

I’m not a stupid person, by any means, but I couldn’t really figure the sums out, and when I was told by other people that I couldn’t do it and that I was bad at math, I believed them.

When I saw the marks on my report cards at the end of every term, I believed them even more.

I didn’t bother going for extra lessons, mainly because my school was far from home and I had to catch the bus home, or face waiting until evening, when my father finished work.

That wasn’t the only reason, though, because I actually started to believe that I was bad at math and there was nothing I could do about it.

It wasn’t true: you are as good as you want to be, and the saying, “If you tell yourself that you can’t do something, you won’t” applied to what I went through.

I didn’t stay down though; I just learned that even though math wasn’t essentially my forte and I wasn’t interested in it, I liked English and drama, and history too.

I learned what I was destined to do with my life and that I wanted to pursue a writing career, even if it wasn’t my primary one at first, meaning that I might have to have an actual job (the horror!) to support myself from month to month.


"I walked away knowing that, not for the first time, and certainly not the last, I had learned from my mistakes and that was the true test."

Things to remember...

• It’s okay to make a mistake.

• Don’t aim for perfection, as nothing and nobody is perfect.

• We need to make mistakes in life because we learn from them.

• It’s even better when we can learn from others’ mistakes.

• People are expected to make mistakes, and they expect you to make mistakes.

• Someone is only truly stupid when they fail to learn from their mistakes and keep on repeating them over and over again.

• Trying and failing is better than failing to try at all.

• If you tell yourself that you can’t do something, you won’t.

• You are as good as you want to be at whatever you want to do.

I also failed my first learner’s licence exam years later.

I got so depressed because of this; I thought that I had prepared so well and after waiting all those months to finally go and write the test, I ended up messing it up by missing the mark by two points in one section.

This happens to many people every year. Some fail their tests up to eight times or more!

I (stupidly) got drunk to ease the pain and misery that I felt. I took it very seriously, as I always have. It also didn’t help having my father lecture me about it, and tell me how disappointed he was. I think that I was so incredibly disappointed because it had essentially been a waste of all those months studying, and I knew it would take months to get back there.

When I got the chance to reapply at another traffic department, I jumped up, went there and applied the very same day.I was a little tipsy when I did the eye test, and I still passed! You think they would have smelled it on my breath or something.

I knew that I had to do things differently. I knew that even though I might have learned the material well enough, it was the questions in the exam that I hadn’t been prepared for.

After another few weeks, I got the chance to go and write the exam again and managed to pass. I watched others fail and walk out in droves, feeling the same despair as I had.

One kid even moaned, “I’m wasting my life!” - Someone had taken my place.

I walked away knowing that, not for the first time, and certainly not the last, I had learned from my mistakes and that was the true test.

“Failure is not the falling down- but the staying down. It is not how many times one falls that is important, but how many times one stands up.”

— Muhammad Ali

How do you look at failure?

See results

© 2009 Anti-Valentine


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I Know how it feels. Thanks for cheer me up and make me believe in me. I need to face the reality that we all make mistakes now and then, and those experiences are the one who teaches us along the way.

    • gr82bme profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      Well done. I will be back for more

      Bookmarked and voted up

    • Anti-Valentine profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from My lair

      You're welcome. And the Ali quote is a very appropriate one for this article, too.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I'm failing physics and pre-cal even though I've been studying and trying so hard. But your article has made me feel better about myself, so thanks! Even though I've been on every assignment in pre-cal it's still hard to get past it. I really like the Muhammad Ali quote you used.

    • Anti-Valentine profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from My lair

      Thank you.

    • goldentoad profile image


      11 years ago from Free and running....

      good write up.


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