If you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
– Neil Gaiman
Whenever life presents a situation in which we have to decide between two or more courses of action, most of us – understandably – feel a bit uneasy. The harder the decision, the more insecure we tend to feel. Who wouldn’t? It’s completely human to doubt ourselves. Sometimes, the more we analyze a situation, the more difficult it is to come to a definitive decision. And then, fear may rear its ugly head…
No matter what, it’s crucial not to let fear guide our decisions. It may also be tempting and safely comforting to have someone else (a close friend, our companion/spouse, an employee or coworker) to make our choices for us. We think it saves us the stress and the responsibility of deciding. Guess what? Doing that often results in us not being happy with the way things turn out, in the short or long term. It also jeopardizes our relationship with the other person to whom we relinquished our right to decide.
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if later on it turns out that you made the wrong choice. What matters is the motivation of your decisions, and the thought process that led you to it. Sometimes there simply is no way to know which road is the best to take. Human nature can play tricks on our perception, too. And then there are the Universe’s little detours; which we can seldom foresee.
Mistakes are our biggest and most effective teachers. Making mistakes proves that we are taking responsibility for the outcomes of our decisions. If we are making mistakes once in a while, it means that we are taking the initiative and doing things in a different way to see if they work out better. If, after making a choice or deciding on any subject, you find that you were wrong, as long as you gave the matter proper consideration and you didn’t ‘rush into’ anything; and as long as you didn’t allow yourself to be influenced in one direction or another; you can rest assured that you acted out of love, in the best interest of all those involved. Keep in mind that most of the mistakes we dread so much can be amended or compensated.
Avoiding action to avoid mistakes doesn’t let you experience life at its fullest. So next time you have to decide on a difficult matter, or make an important choice, give yourself a little (or a big) nudge towards action. Remember: regret only comes when we fail to act because we were paralyzed by fear. So next time, just ask yourself: what is the worst that could happen? You’ll realize that there is no reason to be afraid of deciding. You just need to have a Plan B in place.
What was your last mistake and what did you learn from it? I’m always looking forward to your opinions and experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org.