This I Believe

Nate - Lake Oswego, Oregon
Entered on January 23, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

What would it be like if you considered every mistake a failure? Would you try new things or be too scared of failing to try anything? Everyone in the entire world makes mistakes. It’s their choice whether they learn from them. I believe that failure is making a mistake and not learning from it.

When I trained my dog Buddy to stay inside an invisible electric fence line I walked around the perimeter of the fence with Buddy. He couldn’t see the fence because the line was buried underground. I had to let him get shocked a few times so he would learn not to go over the fence. Buddy would see a bird in the neighbor’s lawn and run to the bird. However, he couldn’t do that because he would get shocked. After sometime, he learned how not to get shocked and stayed inside the fence. A bunny could sit right near the perimeter of the fence and he would go crazy barking but he wouldn’t cross the line. My dog Buddy is smart enough to learn from his mistakes, so shouldn’t we?

The first time I learned to wakeboard I leaned too far forward and did a face plant. Next time I tried, I remembered that mistake and didn’t lean forward. What do you know, I got up. Every time we learn a new skill or try something new or different, we make mistakes. But I don’t believe that those mistakes are failures. Those mistakes are a learning experience that helps me do better the next time.

This belief means, mistakes are okay and everyone makes them. However, it is not okay to make a mistake over and over again. An example of this is when I was little I would bug my mom’s old dog Tosha by pulling on her tail. Tosha would growl but I would keep doing it because I guess I thought it was funny. Then one day Tosha got fed up and bit me, resulting in a trip to the hospital. Tosha had given me a warning sign by growling but I failed to learn from that and I got my punishment by being bit.

Now every time I make a mistake I know that it is okay, as long as I learn from that mistake and don’t do that mistake again. All those mistakes I make are not failures.