This I Believe

Kirsten - Indian Head Park, Illinois
Entered on September 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that everybody can learn from their experiences and mistakes. Just because someone doesn’t win something, it doesn’t mean that they don’t take anything away from it. Personally, sometimes I learn more from a loss or a failure than from a win.

When I was younger, I began to play tennis. I believed that a person could only win or lose, and, if you lost, then it was a waste of time. This was also true in other aspects of my life, like school, music, and friends. However, my mentality was changed one day after a tennis meet.

The tennis meet was full of nationally ranked girls, and I, who was not nationally ranked, was expecting the worst. I had just come off the court after suffering a severe loss, and my friend’s dad came up to me. He asked me how I had played, and I, very upset at the time, told him that I had not even won a game. In response, he said that, even though I did not win, I had played very well and, it must have been a great experience to play a girl with so much talent.

After he said that, I began to think about the word “experience.” I looked back on my match and realized that I had learned new strategies and techniques while playing, and even though I had made some mistakes, I could improve upon them next time. I also discovered that the loss had filled me with the desire to play better from now on. My “experience” had given me the desire to succeed. Even though I had not enjoyed the fruits of winning, I was more determined than ever to succeed next time.

In discovering this important observation, I began to apply this mentality to other aspects of my life. If I did not do well on an assignment or test in school, I would evaluate my mistakes and better prepare myself for the next challenge. If I did not have a good lesson with my piano teacher, I would accept her criticism and practice harder.

In making the experiences count and learning from mistakes, I realized that it is true for everyone in all parts of their lives. If people look back on what they have done and evaluate what they have done wrong, then, possibly, they can take away more from their actions and ultimately learn more about themselves. All experiences are important, it just depends whether people choose to make them count.