Mistakes. We all make them. I talked about one of my big mistakes yesterday. I wasn’t going to continue on with the subject today, but Kacie of Sense to Save made an interesting comment. She said,
I’m not sure how you can undo what has been done, but I’ve always been your fan and I will continue to be! (emphasis mine)
How often do we say those words to ourselves after making mistakes? “Oh, I wish I could go back and do it over again!” or “I wish I could undo that decision.” It’s tempting to think that way. But should we?
I have a relative…I think it might have been my grandpa, but my memory is a bit fuzzy…who said, “Make a decision and then make it right.” Though I’m not completely sure I agree with that advice in all situations, I get the sentiment. Living life with too many regrets is no way to live.
We all make mistakes. What sets those who are successful in life apart from the rest is what happens after mistakes are made. When we make a mistake, we have two choices. We can either declare total failure and hide under a rock, or we can evaluate what happened and find a way to move forward.
Declaring failure stagnates us. It puts us in a holding pattern, unable to go back, but scared to move ahead. Lest you all think I’m bragging that I have it all figured out, I’ll admit that’s where I was two weeks ago. Declaring failure and ready to quit.
But seeing mistakes as opportunities is freeing. It gives us freedom to learn, to be wiser. It gives us freedom to try new things. Once we make a mistake or experience some sort of failure and realize it’s not going to kill us, we have the freedom to make more mistakes and keep learning, until the day comes we get it right. This principle applies to every area of life…relationships, money, career, you name it.
When you make a mistake, rather than declaring failure, examine what went wrong. Then turn it into an opportunity.
In my college days I made some pretty bad choices. I partied. I dated the bad boys. And I paid dearly. I have never been so miserable in my life as I was back then. I did things I’m not proud of. When all was said and done, I ran home to my mom and dad, something I swore I’d never do. I never felt more like a failure than I did at age 22. But that move from San Diego to Oregon changed my life.
I went back to church and rededicated my life to the Lord. I met and married my husband. And I had two beautiful children. If I could take it all back, would I do my college years over? No way!
Through the pain and struggles I was shaped into the person I am today. I’m still not proud of the things I did back then, but I’m not going to live my life wishing for a do-over. Because if I had made better decisions in college, I never would have left San Diego, and I wouldn’t have the life I live today. And quite frankly, I like my life today.
And the same goes with mistakes I’ve made at Being Frugal. I’m not going to spend my time wishing I could undo anything. Over the last year I’ve learned who I am as a blogger and who I am not. I’ve had to juggle priorities until I finally put them in what I believe is the right order. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that it’s important for me to be myself, even when I’m outside my comfort zone.
Whatever happens to BeingFrugal.net, whether people keep reading or not (and I’m grateful that many of you said that you will!), I have learned some important lessons. And no do-over is worth the knowledge I’ve gained through my mistakes.
Do you ever wish for a do-over? Have you ever made a terrible mistake that you choose not to regret, because of what you’ve learned?
And a note to Kacie: Thanks for the comment! I always love a comment that turns into a post!
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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