Making Mistakes Doesn’t Mean Failing

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi


How many times do we stop trying to do something for fear of failure?

I know I have in the past. I had a lot of fear and vulnerability attached to making mistakes and failure and this would stop me from trying new things. I also thought that if I did everything people expected of me, life would be perfect (that didn’t happen and I now choose a different journey and am getting to know my true self).

However, is making mistakes really failing or is it more about the way we interpret and experience our mistakes and so-called failure? What are these perceptions costing us? Albert Einstein said it so well ~ “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” 

This past week, I came across an acronym on mistakes while I was reading a book on approval addiction (more on that later in another post). It struck a chord with me and subsequently I wanted to share it. John Maxwell created the acronym “MISTAKES” and it gives a different perspective on the way we look and interpret the mistakes we make. The MISTAKE acronym is –

  • Messages that give us feedback about life.
  • Interruptions that should cause us to reflect and think.
  • Signposts that direct us to the right path.
  • Tests that push us toward greater maturity.
  • Awakenings that keep us in the game mentally.
  • Keys that we can use to unlock the next door of opportunity.
  • Explorations that let us journey where we’ve never been before.
  • Statements about our development and progress.

I know it is not always easy to make mistakes, but I wonder how different our lives would be if we reframed how we interpreted our mistakes?

What if we had the courage to make mistakes each day (without doing harm to another person or the environment) and gave ourselves a mistake quota, so we could make as many mistakes in a day as we can? Would that allow us to grow in to the people we want to become?

As you continue on your journey, to pack your self-compassion in your toolkit and as George Bernard Shaw said ~ “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”


Reflection Questions –

Remember, it is very rare to get something right the first time – that is why it is called practice!

If you are ready to take yourself on the journey of getting to know yourself (your true Self) so you can continue to share your gifts, why not join the Toolkit? A place where I share tools, inspiration and ideas to live a courageous and openhearted life.

Reference –

Maxwell, J. (2000). Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for SuccessNashville, USA: Thomas Nelson.


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