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It's OK to Make Mistakes

Updated on January 10, 2013

Everybody’s Doing It

I challenge you to name one person that has never made a mistake. You can’t. It’s impossible. Sure, you might know that “perfect” person that seems to get everything right. Well, trust me. They have messed up plenty.

From the moment we are born we make mistakes. As kids, we make tons of them. That’s a big part of how we learn things. And then we move on without looking back.

What's The Big Deal About a Mistake?

We have been making mistakes our whole lives, then why as adults are we so terrified of making them? Why do we beat ourselves up so much when it happens? Everyone does “stupid” things or has had a time when what we thought was a great idea turned out to be the exact opposite. These mistakes come in all shapes and sizes. And so do their repercussions.

Mistakes come without warning. If you thought you were going to screw up like that, would you really have done it? I am not talking about a calculated risk not going in your favor. I am talking about doing something that was just plain dumb. Maybe you weren’t thinking at all. We would all like to give ourselves enough credit to think that we don’t do things without thinking, but you know it happens. This is why they are called mistakes, people! Nobody in their right mind walks around going, boy I hope I really screw that up!

If we can't see it coming, why do we let the mere possibility of mistakes paralyze us? Why do we hold back when we get a hint of being less than confident? I know there are people out there that have been afraid to make a move at work or in their personal lives because they are afraid of making a mistake. I am guilty of it myself. I have turned down projects because I thought I might mess up. I have turned down invitations because I was afraid of doing something stupid. It is just a silly thing to do.

Wouldn’t you rather try and fail than never try at all? As I look back on decisions I have made, I find myself regretting NOT doing more things than I regret doing. I am not talking about being reckless and throwing caution to the wind. That falls under poor judgment. I am talking about shying away from opportunity because the result might not be perfect. If everyone functioned with that reasoning, nothing would ever get done.

I failed to get the plate number of the car that hit me and drove off. I won't make that mistake again!
I failed to get the plate number of the car that hit me and drove off. I won't make that mistake again! | Source

Learn from Your Mistake and Move On

What happens when you make that mistake? When you decide to take on the project, or go out on that date, and the dreaded mistake happens?! When you make a typo in the company newsletter. When you get soup on your shirt at dinner. Now what do you do?

Do you crawl in a hole, mortified, and vow to never write or date again lest you suffer the same fate? No you do not. You confront it. Don’t blame the printer for not catching your misspelling. Don’t blame the waiter because the spoon was too small. Fess up to it.

Then learn from it. Next time you write the newsletter, enlist some coworkers to help with the editing. Fresh eyes are the best at finding typos. On the next date, maybe order something a little less prone to spillage. Confront your mistake head on and learn from it so that you are less likely to do it again. Realize that you survived and that you can move forward with a little more confidence.

Don’t try to make yourself perfect. Nobody’s perfect. No system is perfect. So, don’t live your life afraid of not being perfect. Live your life knowing you might mess up, but have the confidence that if you do mke a mistake you will confront it, learn from it, and move on...... And get ready to mess up again, but on something else this time. :)

How I Applied my Theory on Mistakes to Management

One thing I was always sure to tell the staff I supervised was to try their hardest not to make mistakes. A “must” due to the industry I was working in. I followed that by telling them that they will certainly make some and when they do, they need to tell me. Immediately. We will address it, find a way to prevent it, and try harder not to do it again. I was never mad when an employee made an honest mistake. What was unacceptable was hiding the mistake, not admitting the mistake, blaming someone else, or repeatedly making the same mistake.
As a result, my employees were more relaxed. The concentrated on what they were doing, not what they were afraid they might do. Any mistakes were addressed immediately, rather than when it was too late or after it was compounded.

I saw this posted on a facebook page and I agree with it completely: The first time it is a mistake. The second time it is a choice


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    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      pstraubie48 - I see you are one of us that knows how it feels to over stress about a mistake. For some reason, it is in people's nature to do it and it only makes them unhappy.... I am glad that you are less hard on yourself. Mistakes happen. Maybe in taime, you won't hate making them (you don't have to like them), and you won't be hard on yourself at all.

      Thank you so much for sharing in your comment.... wishin gyou happiness... hugs!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from sunny Florida

      For a long time, I beat myself up over every mistake. I am a type A personality--always have been. But I have learned to reign it's too short....

      I still despise making mistakes but am not nearly as hard on myself as I used to be.

      Thank you for sharing this.. thinking about where one is in relation to this topic is a valuable exercise.

      Sending Angels to you :) ps

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      mary615 - what a wonderful attitude you have! Sadly, not all of us know automatically what you are so wise to know. I am so glad I finally learned it! :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I always found that when I made a mistake I admitted it, tried to correct it, and just moved on. I have worked with people who make mistakes and try to hide them.

      I'm always making mistakes in my everyday life. Just stupid little things.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      midget38 - To err is human, and when it is an honest mistake with no ill intent, learning and moving on is so much healthier than the stress that comes from holding on to it.... Thank you for reading and commenting. See you around!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Exactly, exactly, Dana. We all have to learn from them and move on, because we're human. Though we cannot condone some things, but we have to let go, forgive and press forward! A great hub.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Maria - I am always so apreciative when you take time to comment on my hubs.... I enjoy sharing nuggets of "wisdom" and advice that has helped me in hopes that it might help somebody else.... so glad that I could provide you with some timely reading... as always, thank you for voting too! :)

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      Your application of your theory to management is so meaningful. I felt the exact same way and appreciated when staff told me the truth and promptly.

      You always seem to share the perfect writing for me to check out at the perfect time...andI thank you, especially today. You are very wise. Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      rahul0324 - Thanks for stopping by... i say, if you are gonna mess up you might as well get something out of it!

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 

      6 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      To err is human

      Interesting hub! I too believe in mistaking... but learning from mistakes is must otherwise there is no use to making mistakes

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Vellur - thanks for the great comment. i am copmpletely new to writing advice hubs and sometimes I worry that people will think I am pretentious or just full of crap. I just know what has worked for me and I wnt to share it. Getting feedback like this very encouraging. :)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub. We must learn from mistakes and move on. Making mistakes is a part of learning. We must not be afraid to try. Useful pointers and information in your hub. Great read.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Chris Hugh - I really like your comment. You make an excellent point about reluctance to make mistakes. And I think there are those who don't want to get in trouble. It takes a strong person to admit a mistake in some cases. I hope I have encouraged some people to do it.

      I like that quote very much. Where is that from?

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Debbie - thats my whokle point. We all mess up. You might be one of those unfortunate ones that do it a little more than others. :) Don't sweat it. You are a great lady! Thanks for reading this. I hope it wasn't by mistake (I had to go there!) Take Care.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      wow have i ever messed up.. it seems like I mess up all the time.. I wish I would learn some day.. lol

      Great hub


    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 

      6 years ago

      I think it must be part of human nature to not want to admit to mistakes. Maybe admitting to mistakes causes a loss of social stature that makes one less likely to be able to pass down his/her mistake-admitting genes? I dunno.

      But it hurts to admit an error. One the other hand, "Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is thinking like an animal." Except that animals aren't too proud to change when they are wrong.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      moonlake - we have ALL made so many mistakes. the difference is what we do about it. Embrace your mistakes! Don't wprry about making more. Get out there! Live your life! Heck, at this point, if you do make a mistake you can always write a hub about it, right? :)

      Thanks for the vote up!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Angela - thank you for your comments. i always appreciate when i get stylistic feeback. i wanted to make this enjoyable to read so that it didn't seem preachy or teachy.

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      I've made so many mistakes in my life. I don't like going to some places(parties etc ) just because I think I will make a mistake. Funny at my age to worry about that. Enjoyed your hub. Good advice. Voted up

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Really great advice. I like how this was presented.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Lucky Cats - Thank you for "getting it", and then taking up to a whole other level! I'm honored!

      I got so tired of missing out on life because I as afraid of not doing things right. And then as a manger I found myself getting more mad over hiddne mistakes then over honesty and determination. SO i started to live and manage workers with the spirit of this hub.

      Thanks so much for commenting and the votes. :)

    • Lucky Cats profile image


      6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Hi DanaTeresa. I shudder to think of some of the things I've done..if they were known; I'd have to find a cave to hide in!! are so right...we learn as we go. What seems obvious today was completely unknown in the past...we are surprised that we didn't "realize" that or "know" this or "know better than to do " that. It just takes time..."Lord of the Flies" comes to mind, along w/other examples of situations / stories in which "we" (proverbial) acted before thinking....and/or we just DID NOT KNOW thank you for a great thought provoking hub. Up Interesting.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Vicki - thanks for the share!

      It is silly to beat yourself down for an honest mistake. its not your fault! it is your responsibility to learn from it.... here is to happier, well educated goof-uppers! :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      So true. We can learn from our mistakes. We all make them! And they do make us what we are. Great hub. Sharing!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      teaches - Glad to contribute some uplifting words. Moving on is so important to having a good life. And if we can have a little extra wisdom when we do it, even better.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Docmo - Thank you! I truly believe that we should take advantage of all of life's opportunties to learn and grow. It makes us better people and it makes our lives richer. (ps - great chatting with you last night)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Great advice. Thanks for the postive relfection and encouragement to carry on in life, in spite of our shortcomings.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      6 years ago from UK

      Sound advice, Dana. Thanks for sharing. Self directed learning is all about learning from mistakes, reflecting and moving on. you've said this really well here.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks! I look forward to seeing you around!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      6 years ago from Wales

      Great hub;thanks for sharing and I now look forward to many more from you.

      Take care and enjoy your day.



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