This I Believe…

Arynn - Muskegon, Michigan
Entered on May 15, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that mistakes are a normal part of life, but that doing nothing to prevent them from happening again is not. Mistakes are meant to be learned from. If you continue making the same mistakes, then you are not learning anything. A life without learning can prove to be very difficult.

Addicts are a very good example of an inability to learn from mistakes. It can be something as small as an addiction to chewing fingernails, or as difficult as an addiction to hard drugs. Someone who is trying to quit biting his nails may put a hot or sour substance on his nails in attempt to quit. He will bite his nails, and realize that the taste is displeasing. A mistake has been made, but will this man remedy it? Or will his hands be in his mouth again in mere minutes?

The same is true with more serious addictions, or more serious mistakes with more difficult consequences than just a gross tasting mouth. I had a friend who had been in trouble for drunk driving a couple of times. He vowed to never, ever drink again. But within months he not only make the mistake of drinking again, but he also made the mistake of getting behind the wheel. Again. He hit a woman and went to jail. I could hardly call this learning.

My drunk friends is a case of what I like to call “temporary learning.” This type of learning is most common with mistakes. The guilty party feels guilty, of course, for whatever mistake he or she has made. This guilt only lasts for a short period of time before being forgotten completely. Once forgotten, the conscience is free and willing to commit the same mistakes for a second, third, fourth… nth time. Not all mistakes are followed by “temporary learning.” Some mistakes can be repeated and repeated and repeated with no guilt at all. I make a great example of this myself.

I am the queen of not writing papers. Procrastination is the easiest mistake to make. Putting off something over, and over, is so simple because there are so many other things to occupy time. This is a mistake that I have made since middle school, throughout high school, and a mistake that I will probably continue to make through my college career. I know what effects this will have on my grade. I know that I will not always have nice teachers who accept late work or give half credit. Do I learn from this mistake? Absolutely not. In fact, I am writing this paper the hour before it is due, and chances are I won’t even finish it.