This I Believe- Importance of Mistakes

Making Mistakes: The Perfect Source of Learning

  Everybody makes mistakes. They are a natural part of life. Making mistakes not only allows people to find the error in their strategy, but mistakes also allow them to move forward. People in society to not make any mistakes, to try to be perfect, but soon they face the sad reality;no one is infallible. Some people accept this, and choose to be the best they can be; however, some people don’t, and end up giving up whenever they fail. Regardless of the option individuals choose, mistakes have an exceedingly important role in the life of the individual. This, I believe.

You may be thinking at the beginning, what is a mistake? What categorizes as a failure? The dictionary definition of mistake is, “An action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.”; however, I think (NOT believe) that a mistake is something which you does not meet the expectation you wish for it to meet. A mistake, to one person, could be thought of as perfection to another person. Individuals have different expectations. For example, two students are drawing in the art room. One of them accidentally spills their paint on their own picture, and is about to throw it out. The other student notices this, and thinking of the accidental spill as a chance to create something beautiful, the other student asks to use the painting as their own, to which the first student happily gives it to the other student. In this very detailed example, the first student made what they thought of as a mistake, while the other student saw the mistake as a chance to create something beautiful.

Failure is good. It’s fertilizer. Everything I’ve learned about coaching, I’ve learned from making mistakes.
-Rick Pitino


Mistakes allow us to move forward. When we make a mistake, we usually make a mental note to avoid doing the same thing again, so that we don’t have to deal with the same issues that we had already dealt with. “Failure is good. It’s fertilizer.”, simply compares humans to plants, with mistakes (failures) being the fertilizer for humans. Fertilizer is meant to help the plant grow, to help it prosper. In the same way, failure is meant to help an individual prosper. By making a mistake, and allowing yourself to learn from it, you achieve success.

There are people in the world who try to be perfect, who try to go through their lives without doing a single thing wrong. I’m not going to say that people shouldn’t try to be perfect; they should try, and be the very best they can be. It just shouldn’t be taken to the extreme where, although you still try your hardest, there is a huge feeling of disappointment when something does not go the way that you want it to go. As a result of that feeling of disappointment, people who aspire to be completely perfect would learn nothing of the mistake they made, learning nothing from the experience of the mistake. In stark contrast, people who try to be the best they can be, while accepting their failures, are people who have true success. Those people, while still trying to be the best they can be, accept their fallibility. It is this acceptance which allows them to mature further in life, to learn from their mistakes.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

-Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison is a man for whom I have a great deal of respect. He is known for his inventions of the phonograph, the motion picture camera (otherwise known as the recording camera), as well as his most notable invention, a long-lasting light-bulb. These inventions weren’t made on his first try. They were made after constant failures, after Thomas Edison continually persevered, after he continually got up after he fell down. Thomas Edison’s first blueprint for the light-bulb would be different from his last experience, because Thomas Edison learned from his mistakes, he learned what would not work, and as a result of it, thought of a way to change his plan so that he would not run into the same problem. Take a moment to think where we would be if Thomas Edison gave up on his fifth try. It’s very difficult, isn’t it?

I used to think of my mistakes as my own lacking of character, as something which I should have never done. After an innumerable amount of mistakes, I thought that perhaps, instead of wallowing in sadness over my own mistakes, I could instead be planning on how to avoid it (it was actually my parents who told me this). I decided to follow through with that plan, and so, I became completely incapable of ever making another mistake again. Just kidding, I still make mistakes by the hour. This time, I learn from my mistakes. I learn what I did wrong, what I could have done instead, and I make a mental note to do that the next time I ever run into a similar scenario. I feel better about myself when I avoid potholes which I could’ve fallen into, due to learning from a mistake where I fell into the pothole earlier.

Mistakes are everywhere, but they are there for a purpose. Knowledge is power, but can only gain a higher level of knowledge after making mistakes. Your failures are meant to help you grow as a person, to help you mature. As a result of that, you shouldn’t either forget about trying because you know mistakes are important, nor should you have the belief that perfection is a possibility, and that mistakes are a flaw in your character. You should just try to be the best you can be, but keep in mind, that this is my own opinion. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with me, or disagree with me, because this, is what I believe.





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15 thoughts on “This I Believe- Importance of Mistakes

  1. Rehman,

    I truly admire your philosohpy towards success. I too am a person who not only makes mistakes, but making mistakes is the best way that I learn. From my own personal experience, too often many are under the impression that success is doing something perfect on the first try. I loved when you said that “Knowledge is power” – because knowledge and intelligence are two separate things. I heard it said recently that children are smarter than their parents, yet parents are more knowledgable than their children. I have always been one to believe Maya Angelou’s quote: “When you know better, you do better.” I live life always trying to be better each day than I was the last, yet this is not a constant gradualism. By punctuated equilibrium, we can still reach our final goal of a genuine self, yet with much more trial and error to keep us grounded.

    Your comparison of people to plants made for the piece to be extremely honest for I found that though your piece was about mistakes, the motif of growth is weaved throughout. I admire your capability to express what you believe wholeheartedly, and I can see that you practice what you preach.

    Keep on writing! You’re very talented Rehman.


    1. Dear Alissa,
      First off, I’d like to sincerely apologize for this late response to your amazing comment. I’m really sorry I didn’t reply earlier.
      Words cannot describe how happy I feel that a writer as talented as yourself commented on my blog post (I guess you could say I’m experiencing a twinge moment). When I read your comment, all doubt that I had about my essay was erased, because I was happy that at least one person (who also happens to be such a remarkable writer as well) appreciated my philosophy. I am truly grateful for your comment, because it encourages me to write more, as well as put more effort into my own writing. I want to thank you for recognizing how I tried to input the idea of growth into my essay, because that was originally something which caused me a bit of trouble at the beginning of my essay. I really appreciate the idea that you gave, the idea where knowledge and intelligence are two different things. It inspired loads of thinking, and in fact, I re-read my blog post again! Your words helped me improve as a writer.

      Thanks for everything Alissa.


  2. Rehman,

    I’ve read this blog almost five times now, and every time it touches me how well you can get across such a simple, yet terribly hard to comprehend idea so… efficiently. Your writing speaks to me in a way that anyone can understand, but people will learn from as they read it again as they get older. (Sounds like the jokes in a Spongebob episode, you begin to understand more of them as you get older)

    On a more serious note, your last three paragraphs just hit me, so hard. You effortlessly blend from an outside example into a personal one. It just… touches me.

    I can say that I believe this post down to the 23’rd comma (“as a result of that feeling of disappointment, people who aspire to be completely”) and beyond! People spend more time thinking about how much better that life could have been if they hadn’t made that mistake, instead of turning that mistake into a “Never shall I forget” moment, and working on it from there. We just don’t do it! I don’t know why we don’t, but we don’t. You’ve explained this amazingly over the course of your blog.

    If I were to suggest one thing, it would be (And this is just me being picky) to work on making your sentences flow. Your ideas connect beautifully, but the sentences in which they are put don’t fit together ‘just right’, sometimes.

    I would be lying if I were to say that this is not a eye-opening post.


    1. Dear Areeb,

      THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT COMMENT. You always have the power to make my day so much brighter with just your words. I want to thank you for appreciating my idea, as well as my effort to convey my idea. I also appreciate how you were able to relate this to a comedic topic (Spongebob), and I cannot describe how grateful I am that you even took the time to count the commas (even I can’t do that for my own piece). The fact that you identified the paragraphs which you felt were the most strongest helped me distinguish the style which would affect the audience the most, and I thank you for that. I thank you for being picky, because I always appreciate when I am told how I may improve my piece. Don’t worry, I will improve the flow of my sentences. I honestly thank you for taking the time to read my essay. I thank you for taking the time to read my comment. I thank you for giving me positive, as well as negative, feedback.

      Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart.


      1. I’ve never thought my words as a way to make someone’s day brighter by just speaking them. Heartwarm of the day, that was.

        I’m glad that you found my feedback so helpful!


  3. Rehman,

    I truly appreciate your views on what you believe. As a teacher, it is imperative that we must guide and support our students in their journey of learning. It becomes challenging when there is a mindset that does not allow an individual to see mistakes as a part of learning but as a part of failure. I was impressed to see that apart from Edison (mathematical background) you exemplified your views with non-Math examples. The irony is that students usually have a negative approach to Math due to their lack of success before anything else.

    I will be sharing your views with my grade 10 students as I believe in your views too!

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Dearest Mr. Nayak,
      I truly feel it to be a privilege that a teacher as wonderful as you took the time out of your busy schedule to read my blog post. I want to thank you for acknowledging my work, and I completely agree that teachers guide students into accepting their mistakes. If mistakes are the tool, then teachers are supposed to help students utilize that tool. I would like to thank you for comparing this post to Mathematics, because when I first wrote this post, mathematics was not really going through my head (although I do LOVE mathematics). Now that I think about it, mathematics is all about making mistakes! Thanks so much for sharing your views, they really changed how I thought about my own post. Thanks for being an amazing source of inspiration, and I do hope you continue to inspire as you have inspired me. I cannot thank you enough for doing so.

      Sincerely yours,

  4. Hi Rehman! I’m Hailey, from the International School of Panama, I’m in Mr. Avelar’s English 10 Honours class! I enjoyed reading your essay. I agree with you that people tend to try too hard striving for perfection and feeling absolutely terrible when they make a mistake. I do that a lot, I try to relax but its a process. I think you did an excellent job getting your point across; using quotes, images, and personal and un-personal examples. Your perspective about perfection and mistakes are different than what you normally hear and I liked your perspective. I would like to clarify whether or not

  5. Hi Rehman! I’m Hailey, from the International School of Panama, I’m in Mr. Avelar’s English 10 Honours class! I enjoyed reading your essay. I agree with you that people tend to try too hard striving for perfection and feeling absolutely terrible when they make a mistake. I do that a lot, I try to relax but its a process. I think you did an excellent job getting your point across; using quotes, images, and personal and not personal examples. Your perspective about perfection and mistakes are different than what you normally hear, and I liked your perspective. I would like to clarify whether or not you believe that we can achieve a perfected state, in this life or another? Sorry, the last post got posted accidentally.

    1. Hello Hailey!
      To start with, I’m extremely sorry for this late reply. The week was just too hectic, and I procrastinated in thinking about my replies (that’s one mistake I won’t make again…). Anyway, I’m Rehman, from FFCA High School, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I’m in the amazing Ms. Hunnisett’s English AP class! I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to be able to have students from other schools reading my blog posts! I’m also very happy that you shared your opinion, as well as giving a sort of personal example. Thank you so much for the compliments! I feel so much more confident in my writing, just by reading these comments. In answer to the question you posed, I would like to say that I think of perfection, or even the term perfect, as a human invention. As such, you use it as you want to use it. When you reach perfection, in my opinion, you are able to believe that you are the best you can be. You are able to match the expectations that you set for yourself. Other people may say that you are not perfect, but if you believe you’re perfect, then in my opinion, you are. I want to thank you for everything. For reading my post. For your kind words. For your question.
      I want to thank you, for making my day so much more brighter!
      P.S Do you think there’s a way that I could also read your writing?

  6. Hello Rehman!
    My name is Sofia, and I am Mr. Avelar’s student in the International School of Panama. I really admired your piece! I think that this is due to the fact that I too believe that mistakes are essential in life, since it brings much more things than just failure. I loved the connections you added when explaining different circumstances in which important event have surged out of them, even if they included lots of mistakes. This was such a good way to get readers like me to understand what you are trying to say. I hope that you get loads of compliments on your writing; you rock! I hope to read many other creations of yours 🙂

  7. Hello!

    My name is Claudia and I’m Mr. Avelar’s student at the International School of Panama. First off, I’d like to say that your essay introduced a couple of points about mistakes to me; points I had never considered before. One of them was when you said “There are people in the world who try to be perfect, who try to go through their lives without doing a single thing wrong.” Of course, I was aware of the fact some people are like that, but I hadn’t truly thought about it until now. That particular quote allowed me to connect to my thoughts about people in the world around me. I, too, believe that mistakes are one of the key factors that allow us to succeed in life. Instead of getting down on the mistakes we make, we should be happy and understand we are one step closer to our own success. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your essay.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hello Rehman,
    My name is Lara de Mello Oliveira from Mr. Avelar’s English class in the International School of Panama. I found it absolutely mind blowing, how you can take a “mistake” which can have a negative connotation and transform it into something good and encouraging. You we able to change my view in what I consider a mistake. You made me believe it is essential to learn from your mistakes so you can become a better person. Lastly, I absolutely loved your reference to Thomas Edison!
    Keep writing, you do a great job!

  9. Rehman,

    My name is Alan from Internation School of Panama and I am in Mr. Avelar’s English class, I just finished this astonishing piece of writing. I can’t begin to tell you how much this got to me. One part that got me thinking greatly was when you talk about Thomas Edison and about how if he would have gave up on his fifth failure, we might not even have the light bulb now or even how the world would be right now. I am a person that tries to do something but will just give up if I encounter failure on the first try… but I am hoping that after reading this I can make things very different and learn from my mistakes and try again.

  10. Rehman,

    I am Rudy Bissot from ISP, or the International School of Panama. I just wanted to let you know that I really like your writing. The way you play with words to express the message you are talking about is great. Great job man.

    Your friend from Panama Rudy

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