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We all make mistakes. We make mistakes when attempting our questions in the exams, when playing cricket, making drawings, reciting a poem, and when doing anything on any normal day. It is human nature to make mistakes, and it is from these mistakes we learn and become better.

Mistakes teach us

Our thought process changes after we make a mistake. What we think is right or acceptable becomes incorrect when we make a mistake and we learn a new and better way of completing a task.

Do you remember the method of answering questions during exams? You would attempt the easiest ones first to give more time to lengthy or difficult questions. We learned this by first doing it the other way around and then letting our experience teach us the appropriate method.

They make us face our fears

You may stutter when reading aloud in class or you may not hit the ball properly when playing football or you may not remember a speech once you have memorised it. Every day we face our fears in some form or the other, however, our fearfulness and acceptance of change comes only after we make a mistake. You may be afraid to study mathematics because of coming up with the wrong answer, however, the errors will lead you to learn how to correctly solve questions.

Mistakes are our friends

People seldom accept mistakes as good experiences. Thinking of mistakes as bitter experiences will not help you become better. Our society deems that mistakes are bad and those who make them have some problem.

This is a concept we must reject. It is the mistakes we make and our ability to learn from them that make us better students and professionals.

Mistakes make us confident

Our lack of decision-making, hastiness, ignorance of rules and miscalculations result in mistakes. However, once we rectify our mistakes and accept our faults, we gain command of the task and resolve never to make the same mistake again.

This self-confidence is important to succeed in life. Suppose you are playing your favourite racing game and your car crashed upon reaching a certain level. After learning from the error you made at that stage, you will eventually pass that level. Life is also a game and to become successful — whether in our daily life, school or at office — we need to embrace our mistakes openheartedly.

Experience is our teacher

We understand the mistakes we make in order to avoid them in the future. Understanding what we did wrong will make it easier to do it the right way in future. The experience we get from failure and mistakes gives us the courage to try new things and also provides us with the vision of what we want and need to do.

Mistakes also give us the experience to make ourselves stronger than before. Suppose every time you draw something on a paper with oil colours, the colours spread and create a mess on the paper. However, with time and experience, you come to realise that colour pencils or crayons are a better tool when drawing on paper. Once realised, your drawings become colourful, neat and you enjoy doing it too.

Trial and error

The combination of trial and error cannot be stressed upon any further for they both work simultaneously. In the process of learning, you try repeatedly until you reach your result, and make errors until you find the right method of completing the task.

Imagine the time when you were making your transition from riding a bicycle with trainer wheels to a two-wheel bicycle without trainer wheels. You would fall down, scratch your knees and elbows, have difficulty balancing the bicycle and even crash on the wall. However, after trials and errors, you eventually did learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle with ease.

The right way and the wrong way

Mistakes guide us to use the right way and avoid the wrong way, which we used to think was the proper method. Learning to tie a shoelace, for example, needs time and technique. You can tie a shoelace any way you want but the right way is to follow the butterfly technique that gives shoelaces a clean single knot without a hassle.

Furthermore, if you want to eat an ice cream bar then you can do so without using a plate. However, as the ice cream melts, its droplets can make your hands and clothes dirty and you did learn to place a plate or a tissue paper over your other hand to keep yourself free from drippings.

Inspire others

When we learn from our mistakes, we tend to become an inspiration for others for we can inform what works. Imagine the gift of flying which the Wright Brothers gave to the world. However, they could only do so by failing multiple times when testing their flying machine. Inventors, scientists, and researchers have stumbled many times before inventing new products, and devising new concepts and theories because they learned from their mistakes.

Published in Dawn, Young World, July 23rd, 2016