Taking the lessons likfe gives me

Hannah - Petaluma, California
Entered on May 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I’ve listened to and read a number of different I believe essays. There is an incredibly

wide range of topics all the way from a philosophy built around the pizza delivery guy,

to an anesthesiologist valuing each breath she takes. I have no idea how people come up

with these essays, some of them are just plain brilliant, and after struggling for a long

time to write about a belief of mine and sound half as profound, I still couldn’t seem to

find the right topic. I finally realized that I was struggling because even though I agreed

with what I was writing about, agreeing is different than believing in something. So I

started to think about what it was in all of the essays that I had read gained my respect

and admiration. I realized that all of those essays have truths that people have worked

out for themselves, whether I agree with them or not, there are lessons that can be

gained from them, lessons that compel me to question my own beliefs and cement them

more firmly, or even change them. But the thing I am struck with over and over is that the

more I’m confronted by all of those lessons, the more I learn, and appreciate how much I

don’t know. So I try to learn from any and everything possible, such as class, advice I

get, feedback about myself or something I did, and most importantly from my mistakes.

Making mistakes is something I do more often than I would like, but they’re vital to

learning. When I make a mistake, I try to figure out what went wrong and avoid doing it

again, but I wouldn’t know not to do it if I hadn’t made the mistake in the first place. I

like the way someone put it before; that mistakes are lessons of wisdom. One of my

struggles is that I dwell too long on my mistakes and don’t focus on using what I’ve

learned to avoid making the same mistake again. I can think of an incident that happened

fairly recently to me, when someone I know came up to me to correct me on something

he thought I had done wrong, he didn’t give the information to me in the kindest way

and I was very self righteous for a while about being right. But once I started to think

about it, much as I hated to, I had to admit to myself that what he had said was right, but I

had turned him off because of the way he said it. I wasn’t open to the lesson because I

wasn’t humble enough to admit I was wrong. I’m human, and as a human I am flawed

which means I make mistakes. I can just choose to live with this fact and use that as a

crutch, just blaming it on the excuse that everybody makes mistakes, or I can use each

instance as an opportunity to learn and avoid making the same mistake again. I’ll be

honest, sometimes I just want to do the former, and I do. But I want to choose the latter,

for myself, and for other people because my mistakes don’t just affect my life, they

affect more than I will ever realize. That is what has lead me to my belief of taking the

lessons life gives me.