How do you know when you’ve made a mistake? You’re going to say that something goes wrong, right? Well, you’re mistaken.
When something goes wrong you’ve caused a problem, but unless you regret it, it wasn’t a mistake.
If you did it on purpose, even if something goes wrong, if you don’t regret it, it wasn’t a mistake.
If you did it intentionally, and now you regret it … yep, mistake.
And I know this is true, because I’ve made some whoppers.
How big are some of my mistakes? Well, I invented the personal watercraft. You maybe know it by the name Jet Ski or Seadoo or the like, I was going to call it the Warm Weather Melted Snow Mobile (I’m not always great with names).
I thought it up one lazy day when I was just barely into my teens, held it as an idea worth pursuing for several years. Every time things got me down I would think to myself, “… yes, but soon you’ll invent the WWMSM and you’ll be rich and all your troubles will be behind you.
The indignity of finding out someone had stolen my idea was served to me in the worst possible way, by seeing someone on a PWC having lots of fun on the water … the kind of fun I would have liked to have provided to the world myself.
Not the worst …
But, while being one of my biggest mistakes, it was far from the top of the list of worst mistakes.
The first drink of alcohol I indulged in is right up there on the top, bundled with the subsequent investment of much of my youth and young adulthood in pursuing the release from having to endure my racing mind by consuming as much alcohol as I could.
It’s called self-medicating now … I shall regret that mistake to the end of my days.
But that’s not now
Now I’m sober and have been for over 30 years. And I’ve realized that, while I regret the drinking that almost killed me and caused my friends and family so much pain and shame, I learned from that.
I learned what I wanted in life, and what I wanted for others, and finally I figured out how to get that for them, for us.
So the best mistakes?
The best mistakes are the ones that teach us.
And how to make them? That’s not the hard part, we make them all the time.
What you need to know is how to recognize them. And if you’re sad, if you have regrets … you’ve made mistakes.
Now get out there and learn from them.