Think about it. If at the time you made a decision you knew it was a mistake, would you have made that decision?

 

It is not logical. Right? We do not consciously make mistakes. Unless we are addicted, say, to something like smoking. Then we light up knowing that it is harmful to our health.

 

But if we are not addicted, if we are logical and in control of our emotions and our needs, we will make the best decision possible at the time.

 

Like getting married. Or buying a house. Or accepting a job offer.

 

A mistake is something we beat ourselves over.  Usually the self recriminations begin after some time has passed, after we get more information,  develop new insight, and become aware of the undesirable repercussions of our decision.

 

So “a mistake” is our judgment about a decision we made in the past. But now, based on new information, about which we were unaware earlier, regrets have set in.

 

Obviously it does not make sense.

 

At the time we decided and took action, that was the best decision we could have made at the time. We acted with all the emotional, intellectual and spiritual capabilities we had at hand…

 

The best.

 

So what do we gain by beating ourselves over the head for being who we were?

 

Instead of saying “I made a mistake,” we should ask ourselves “what is there for me to learn” now that I have new information and new experience.

 

What should I have known, considered, judged, evaluated differently?

What is there to learn now from the experience?

 

And I would write it down. And read periodically what I have written.

 

Why?

 

Because we forget the lessons of life and repeat the “mistakes.”  We all  know people who divorced, only to marry a new spouse very similar to their former wife or husband.  It become a way of repeating a pattern over and over again.

 

By writing it down, we articulate the lessons. And by re-reading those notes and observations we are better able to absorb and learn from them.

 

The notebook with the lessons described and spelled out serves as a reminder not to repeat the decision that we will regret later on and beat ourselves over the head for it.

There are no mistakes in life. Only lessons to learn.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes