A secret mistake is still a mistake.
“Mistake” as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary is “An error or fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.”
I’m pretty sure that none of us wake up in the morning and say, “I can’t wait to make a mistake today!” That would surely be a ludicrous attitude. I don’t like making mistakes which is compounded by my perfectionist attitude. Actually, I try to avoid mistakes mainly because I don’t like to suffer bad consequences.
My Secret Mistake Will Last A Lifetime
I’m going to share with you a mistake that I made a long time ago. It was an error in judgement caused by curiosity and my lack of knowledge. Remember, knowledge is something that you KNOW, not just something that you have been told or suspect.
This isn’t an earth shattering mistake, but it reveals several things about me, life and consequences. I remember this happened before I started first grade, so I was a about five or six years old. In our yard there were some evergreen bushes similar to the one in the photos in this post. The only difference was that the bush in our yard had sharp needles on the ends of each little stem.
I love the little greenish aqua berries on the evergreen bush. I would toss them across the yard to see how far they would go, but they never went as far as my dad could throw them. I also pretended that the berries were peas, so I used them with my little tea set and dishes while I played “house.”
Much like my experience with the hot iron, my curiosity got the best of me. Many times while picking the berries, the sharp needles had pricked my fingers, so I knew that the evergreen could be painful. However, while standing in front of the evergreen bush one day, I picked off the end of one of the flimsy branches, chose a spot on my hand and pretended to give myself a “vaccination” shot.
I know it sounds stupid.
This experience wouldn’t have been so bad except that I didn’t simply stick myself. I actually ground the ends into my skin as I gave myself this imaginary vaccination. It hurt so badly and when I was finished, I wondered why in the world I did such a stupid thing because my hand was bleeding.
Because I felt that it was a really dumb way to incur an injury, I never told my mother what I had done. Actually, she will find out about my evergreen bush experience for the first time when she reads this story. It was my secret, stupid mistake and I now bear a scar on my hand from the experience.
As I got older, my skin stretched and the scar got bigger and bigger. So I ended up with a much larger scar than I had when I was just a child. This scar has been on my hand for over forty years now and it will still be there until the day I die.
Sticking myself with the evergreen needle was a mistake – just a slight mistake made by a lack of knowledge and too much curiosity. However, because of that mistake, my hand has a scar that won’t ever go away. I can’t go back and correct my mistake. Nope. Some mistakes can’t ever be fully corrected.
How To Avoid Mistakes
Although we can learn from our mistakes, it is possible to avoid many of them. I mean, if we can learn a great lesson without making a mistake, wouldn’t that be much better? There are a few things we can do to avoid mistakes and some of them are rather obvious. So here are the top 10 ways to avoid mistakes:
- Follow the advice of someone who has lived through the same experience
- Don’t succumb to peer pressure
- Be unselfish in all dealings with your fellow man
- Obtain knowledge before acting
- Be humble enough to admit your lack of experience
- Get rid of the pompous, arrogant pride
- Focus on your goals
- Think about the consequences of your actions
- Keep things in perspective
- Don’t rationalize
There is no way to completely avoid making any mistakes. No matter how much of a perfectionist you claim to be, there will still be times in your life that you choose unwisely. Once you make one of those mistakes, it is best if you just admit that it was a mistake, understand why you made the mistake and then never choose to make the same mistake again.
I can promise you that I never pretended to give myself a shot in the hand again, nor will I ever do it again. That experience had a profound influence on me. Every time I see an evergreen bush, I remember this silly thing I did as a child. Even more than that, whenever I see that tiny little scar on my hand, I am reminded that my choices will affect my future. No matter how “secret” my mistakes and choices may be, they will forever change my present and future experiences, choices and opportunities. Honestly, I couldn’t have gotten a scar in a better place because I see that scar every day. Yep, every single day since my early childhood.
Choices. Actions. Consequences. All represented in one tiny scar.
What has been the best thing that you’ve learned after making a mistake?