Students: Learn to Take from Mistakes
From a very young age we taught right from wrong and received consequences for mistakes we made. We were put in the corner for not picking up our toys or given a bad grade when we didn’t follow instructions properly. Although this is a standard procedure to encourage good behavior and create respectful citizens, sometimes I wonder are we really learning from the mistakes we’ve made or are we just molded to fear making mistakes?
Let’s use a very specific example for this topic such as college students. By the time we reach our senior year in college, we are almost wired to strive to be perfectionists. Pressure to make good grades, multitask and still have a decent social life can turn us into robots. We take on numerous projects and tasks because we’re afraid to say no, and the next thing you know we’re overloaded and sweeping our mistakes under a rug. We have become to fear our errors because in our minds mistakes equal failure.
This same train of thought carries over into the workforce where instead of using our energy to produce creative material, we’re going over every detail with a fine-tooth comb to make sure everything is absolutely perfect. Now, I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t double-check their work but I am suggesting that the way we view mistakes needs to change.
First of all, mistakes do not equal failure. Mistakes only equal failure if they are repeated frequently or you did not learn a lesson from them. If you do not own up to your mistakes or learn from them, then you are only failing yourself. Some of the best lessons we learn in life are results from mistakes we have made.
Take cooking for example. When we first learn how to cook we burn things, we use too much seasoning, water’s boiling over and our kitchen looks like War World III. Eventually, we get the hang of it and learn the correct temperatures and measurements. As humans we all have different “temperatures” and “measurements,” that can only be figured out through messing up every once in a while.
My advice to college students is to not be afraid and to own up to your mishaps in life. By confessing your mistakes, you will learn lessons in life and become a stronger professional. After all, no one is perfect and mistakes are human. Don’t hide behind a fake mask of perfection—it doesn’t exist. If you pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, you’ll gain more respect from others and will appear human—not a failure.