Why You Need to Look at Mistakes as Lessons Instead of Regrets

The thing about living through a global pandemic is that it gives you an insane amount of time to play with. Just when you think you’ve done everything there is to do, you’re left with your thoughts.

I have been using this time over the past year to re-connect with my family and friends. As I was catching up with my younger brother he suddenly asked me, “If you could choose an age to relive, which age would you go back to?”

I really didn’t need to think too hard about this one. Twenty-five did a number on me! The combination of moving halfway across the world to Madrid, Spain colliding with my quarter-life crisis was an almost lethal combination that threatened to unravel me at the seams.

After a few minutes, though, I realised that I wouldn’t be this version of myself had I not lived through that year in exactly the way I did.

Once I changed my answer he followed up by asking me if I didn’t want to “unmeet” people I may have met then. What an interesting way to ask about my regrets! 

This time I was sure the answer was no. I know now for a fact that those life experiences that felt unbearably exhausting then were absolutely necessary for me to live through so I could become this version of myself now. I needed to meet those people and make those mistakes so I could grow and become a better person from it.

“Don’t waste a good mistake, learn from it”

The likes of Robert Kiyosaki, Richard Branson, and Albert Einstein all have one thing in common, and it’s that they all agree on mistakes being a foundation for success.

My mistakes have taught me more about myself than any of my success stories, and maybe if you take a look at something you regret, you’ll also be able to find a valuable lesson awaiting you within.

Perhaps the most important thing about learning from our mistakes is this: instead of over analysing a situation, we learn to accept that it happened the way it happened and we give ourselves the gift of moving on.

The infamous definition of insanity comes to mind. Why keep torturing yourself by living on your regrets? Not only does it create an unhealthy and stressful loop of thoughts, but this loop also affects your self-esteem which in turn keeps you from fully allowing yourself to expand and make a decision to go after the things you want the most for yourself.

My twenty-five year old self made mistakes that I now view as stepping stones that have led me to the peace of mind that I now cherish today.

Learning from your mistakes is by no means a walk in the park. It takes a certain level of honesty and vulnerability that I never imagined myself to have. I knew, though, that I couldn’t live a life of berating myself for the mistakes I had made. So I did the work. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do it alone and I was brave enough to partner with someone who guided me and helped me uncover these lessons which opened my eyes and broke down barriers to my own happiness.

An often overlooked fact of life is that nothing stays forever. The strongest storms eventually pass, just like daylight eventually shines in the darkest of nights.

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde 

If you take nothing else away from this, here’s another important thing I have learned about mistakes and regret: if we don’t learn the lesson we’re meant to take away from it we are doomed to repeat it until we do.

So, what do you want to do? Live a life of repeated mistakes and regrets? Or make a conscious decision to grow through that pain and become the best version of yourself? It’s really up to you.