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There are a lot of things in life that we do not appreciate enough – relationships, our health, nature, etc. The regrets that stem from our failure to appreciate the important things in our lives in turn make us sad and dejected. Hence, something that essentially shapes us into who we become – mistakes – become things that we loathe and punish ourselves for.

Now, I do understand that mistakes can be painful, frustrating, and at times dangerous. For example, not having enough life boats on the Titanic because it was “unsinkable” was a mistake that cost lives. However, not all mistakes in your life will be like that. Take inspiration from numerous others that not only helped the person who committed the mistake, but so many others for years to come. Some of them are:

1. Plastics

It is difficult even to imagine a world where plastic does not exist. To water bottles to the bags in which we carry our vegetables to containers in which the tidbits are stored, plastic has taken over our world so much that we are now looking for alternatives to it. Just imagine that something that is so commonplace was a mere accident by the inventor!

2. Penicillin

Even though many types of bacteria have developed resistance following extensive use, Penicillin is an antibiotic that is still widely used. Discovered in 1928 by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming, it is used to treat a wide range of infections caused by certain susceptible disease- causing bacteria. This great marvel of science was also created by mistake.

3. Potato Chips

I personally do not think life my life would have been the same had it not been for the invention of this great food item which was created by chance when an angry customer kept sending back the chef’s French-fried potatoes dish. Some days I survive solely on potato chips and I want to hug the person who gave this gift to the world!

4. Fireworks

A cook from China was simply experimenting in the kitchen when he accidentally mixed together charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter. The mixture then exploded, and we got a beautiful way of celebrating things in life!

What is evident from the above examples is that no matter how it looks in the beginning, we have sometimes no way of knowing if things will be better or worse for us in the future. The lessons that stemmed from what you consider the biggest mistakes of your life would have gone a long way in shaping you into an individual who is sharper and better equipped to navigate through life. They shape our personalities and turn us into better, stronger and kinder human beings. It is also my belief that you value things in my life much more when you’ve struggled and toiled to achieve them. Had it been easy, the happiness derived from that particular instance would have been halved.

Mistakes make life interesting and worthwhile by constantly allowing us to discover different facets of our personality. These facets, no matter how positive or negative, would have remained hidden if we were to stop ourselves from experiencing things. And since it is inevitable that mistakes not be made when experiencing something new, it then follows that if one were to try and avoid making mistakes, they would have to completely withdraw from opening themselves to a new world and new experiences.

Committing mistakes means you are doing something in life that is out of your comfort zone. They mean that you are moving forward in life, ready to embrace changes. An interesting thing to note here is how when we are young, our mistakes are not considered bad, but are acknowledged and encouraged. Parents never judge their child for trying to learn how to walk. This helps us to get up, dust ourselves off and try again.  We can learn from our younger selves in this regard and understand that mistakes are a valuable part of the learning process, innovation and discovery. Anything that yields something new is an achievement.

What should come as the saving grace is that everyone makes mistake. No human has the capacity to live a perfect, mistake free life. However, not everyone who makes mistakes understands their value or takes advantage from the entire experience. Thus, we need to have a positive outlook and find out the learning from each experience, without dwelling too much on the fact that we failed. If you stay within your current life, you’ll never find anything new. Making mistakes opens a lot of doors and closes a lot of other ones; it forces you to look in a new direction in ways unfathomable. All that is needed from your end is a little courage and belief in yourself. 

Tanvi Jain

HBB Blogger

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