This I Believe

Alex - Saint John, Indiana
Entered on February 23, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Accountability and the Mistakes

When I was a child, my parents that insisted mistakes are a daily occurrence in life. Taking accountability and learning from these mistakes, however, shapes the kind of people we become and helps us achieve greater knowledge. I believe everyone should take accountability for their actions and learn from their mistakes. Taking accountability improves our reputation, personal dignity, values, knowledge, and overall self-feeling. I understand taking the blame is difficult because it bruises our ego, but in the long run it makes us better well-rounded people.

For two years, I worked at a family restaurant under a boss who frequently scolded the staff for their mistakes. Fellow employees often tried to lie their way out of situations, and my boss would burst into a tirade. One day I dropped a tray of food and was reasonably embarrassed. When he asked me if I did it, I did not blame the tray stand or concoct a story. Instead, I took the full blame for my error just as my parents taught me. To my surprise, instead of screaming, he told me situations like that happen. I realized my reaction reflected the teachings of my parents. Taking accountability and learning from mistakes helps us move on from a predicament and makes us better people.

Later in college, I continued to learn from my mistakes. I think back to Chemistry 115 and the name itself sends shivers down my spine. Everyone hates the general chemistry course at Purdue University, yet all science, pharmacy, and engineering majors must complete it. If the name itself does not intimidate enough, then the exams surely will. We were told by former students the exams were so difficult no matter the amount of preparation, we were destined to fail. Some students, including myself, chose to only study lightly for the first exam in anticipation for an F. After completing the first exam, we thought it was relatively easy. We were wrong though, and we failed the exam. Most of my classmates refused to take accountability and blamed the professors for making the exams too hard. I, instead, decided to take responsibility for my mistake and prepared for the second exam. My preparation paid off and I received an A. My fellow classmates, however, chose the same path and failed again. I acknowledged my error and improved the situation, so I did not relive the same pain twice.

Whether it is a dropped tray or a failed exam accepting blame for our wrong doing eventually helps us become improved members of society. As a young boy, my parents told me everyone makes mistakes everyday. They told me mistakes are a part of life because we do learn what we did wrong, move on, and improve ourselves. In the end though to learn from these mistakes, we have to take accountability. This I believe.