How to Learn from Your Mistakes

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Mistakes often hit us hard. Sometimes hard enough to the point where we are prevented from a good night’s sleep. No worries though, I have one story about my mishap to give you a break from yours.

I remember one day during elementary school where I checked out a huge book from the library. At the time, I was obsessed with Walt Disney animations. Eyeing the title of a picture book that read Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, I was buzzing with excitement about getting my tiny hands on the book and devouring each word. After finishing the book at home, I grew bored out of my mind. I then remembered that I had recently received a stationary kit with an assortment of miniature office supplies. There was one particular tool that I had never seen or used before. At first, it looked like the cousin of the stapler, but I later came to realize that this tool was called a “hole-puncher.” I was curious to test this gadget out but had no paper to test it on. You can probably guess what happened next. I flipped to the page where the wicked stepmother, disguised as an old hag, was pursued by the seven dwarves and, with a click, hole-punched the despised witch. The piece of the cut-out paper immediately fell onto the old carpet in my room. As my eight-year-old self began to process what had just happened, the whole world shattered before me. However, I had a plan… to hide the piece of paper into the carpet and hope that the cleaning lady would vacuum it right up, never to be seen again. What a genius I was.

Months after the incident, a cloud of guilt started to grow inside of me. I cannot even count how many times I tried to search for that tiny paper on that same carpet, long gone. I had already checked in the library book, hesitantly, and prayed that the librarian would not check the page with the gaping hole and catch me as the culprit for defacing school property. Looking back, I don’t think it was a big deal, but I had never before experienced extreme paranoia like that in my life. I even had nightmares of the librarian, chewing me out for being a disgraceful student and a failed steward.

I still laugh at this memory from time to time and even share it with others. Although other people may have had more traumatic experiences than my hole-punch disaster, I was still able to learn a valuable lesson from my experience: mistakes are not the worst things in the world. The term “mistake” should not have such negative connotations. Instead, mistakes should stand for something that we embrace, as they make up who we are as people. People are full of mistakes and we share them to grow, live, and laugh.

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