“And that’s what youth is all about: a chance to make all the mistakes you can and get them out of the way.”
Mistakes are a part of life. They are the only way growth happens. How many of them have you made recently? If you are like most people, the answer probably is “not enough.” We work hard to avoid unfamiliar situations because we don’t want to make a mistake and look bad in front of others. We fail to try new experiences and acquire new skills because we know we will make mistakes and fear we will not be good enough.
Mistakes should not be viewed as a bad thing. They are evidence that you are growing. When children start taking their first steps, they make lots of mistakes. They fall (sometimes flat on their faces) and cry but that doesn’t stop them trying again. How do they do it? They have not yet learnt to internalise other people’s judgments. Learning to walk is just another exciting experience for them, one they try again and again until they master it. Children also find it easier to learn new languages than adults because they are more willing to say the wrong words and still carry on even if someone laughs at their mistakes.
Accepting you will make mistakes at some point is an important quality for those with an open mindset. An open mindset is one that sees fresh opportunities and is willing to learn. If you stop learning, you stop growing. Every successful person in their field put in hours of practice to learn their craft. During that time, they made plenty of mistakes but found the courage to carry on until their skills improved. Today, you see them do it and think they must have been geniuses to get where they are. Meanwhile, that “genius” put in plenty of hours and made lots of mistakes along the way.
A popular misconception is that successful people do not make mistakes. Jack Welch famously blew off the roof of a factory under his management during his career at General Electric. Such a colossal mistake would have been crippling for most people’s career. Jack Welch owned up to that mistake and later became CEO of General Electric.
While I am not suggesting you blow the roof off a building, the story serves to illustrate a point. For most people, the mistakes they are afraid of making aren’t in that order of magnitude. If Jack Welch could recover from that, you can endure a few laughs as you struggle to learn a new language or clumsy syntax as you work hard to acquire coding skills.
You are not perfect. Allow yourself to fail. Only then will growth happen.