Making Mistakes

Zach - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 23, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Mistakes can shape a person, and whether it is in a good or a bad way depends on how they are handled. As a teenager, I am prone to making a lot of mistakes, but I look at them in a positive way. Every time that I make a mistake, I learn something new about myself, and I feel that this helps better me as a person. Without mistakes, how would I be able to distinguish what is right from what is wrong? For all these reasons, I believe in mistakes and their influence on me.

While my choices may not always be sensible or well thought-out, rarely do I have regrets, because I can learn from all of them, whether they are good or bad. Like the average teenager, I have done things that my parents have forbidden me to do. When I was younger, there was a spelling test that I was not prepared for. I knew cheating was against the rules, but I did it anyway, and the result was good. While the final grade may have looked good on paper, it meant nothing to me because I cheated. However, I learned from this mistake, and I know not to do it again. While there is the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat,” I feel that I need to be curious and make mistakes in order to grow as a person. It still makes me angry that some people look at other who make mistakes as troublemakers. However, I shouldn’t have to look over my shoulder all the time, making sure my parents are not watching my every step to prevent me from making mistakes; I have got to live life, and it is not my parent’s or anyone else’s job to do that for me.

Because our parents often feel that they know so much more than us, they try to guide us through life, trying to prevent us from making mistakes. Obviously, this is part of their job of being a parent, and there are certain things they have to make sure we avoid. However, they too must understand that I’m becoming my own person, and that they cannot keep me on a leash much longer. As I go through life, mistakes will always be familiar to me. In the end, they are inevitable, and the longer I try to avoid them, the longer they will be chasing me, a dark shadow hanging over me. In that case, I will embrace them, take from them what I can, and apply my experiences to better myself as a whole. Denis Waitley, a famous motivational speaker, once said, “The only person who never makes mistakes is the person who never does anything.” I try to lead my life by these words, because I can’t let the great things pass me by while I try to avoid the bad ones.