Monday, April 30, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Experience

Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment – Rita Mae Brown

Ok, I really had to cheat for X. But hey, it’s all about being creative, right?

Experience failure. That’s another way of saying embrace mistakes. Yes, I’m really pushing it to make it fit the letter X. But ignore that long enough to read on because it’s very important. I think one of the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn is that it’s really okay to make mistakes.

Being afraid of making mistakes stifles learning. I know from experience. This one can be hard to push through, but it’s worth it.

When I was sixteen, I was learning to drive on a Volkswagen Beetle. Not the easiest car to learn on. A stick shift and a new driver. Enough said. But what made it even worse was that I was yelled at with every mistake I made. I was a nervous wreck and dreaded every time we’d go out in the car. I was scared of driving to start with because I knew I had this big hunk of metal at my control and no experience to go along with it. I was petrified. So I made lots of mistakes. And was yelled at every time I did. You can imagine how well that worked. It didn’t.

It was so bad, at one point I literally believed I would never learn to drive. I felt so incompetent, I wondered how I’d get along in life if I could not drive a car. How did I finally get past it? Well, I went out to a parking lot where I could drive by myself around and around and around over and over again. I’d give it gas, stall it, give it gas, stall it, try again, etc. I did this over and over who knows how many times. I just made mistakes for maybe an hour or so, I don’t remember. But all of a sudden, I started getting it. In a matter of minutes, I could put it into first gear and go smoothly. I never had problems again.

I got in one afternoon what I could not master in weeks under an experienced driver. Why? Because being shamed for my mistakes did not work. Plain and simple. If anything, I think it made it *harder* to learn. When I could mess up and keep trying again and again, I had the freedom I needed. And I finally succeeded.

It’s still something I struggle with – embracing mistakes. What do you think? Do you stress over your mistakes? Do you avoid doing anything you might make mistakes at? Or do you see them as part of the process of learning and growing?


  1. We can't be perfect all the time or write perfecly all the time.

    I enjoyed reading this and was very interested with what you had to write.


  2. I stress and I stress! I have enjoyed your thought provoking

    1. thank you. Thanks so much for reading. :-)

  3. I have enjoyed your posts! As for mistakes - I try to avoid situations that may lead to many mistakes, but even ones I think are easy, a mistake or two will come along. So... I try to learn from it, correct it if I can and move on. I know our children will not listen to us and our help to prevent them from making mistakes... but that is how we all seem to learn. Encouragement goes a long way when someone is learning - so does understanding!

    Hopping by (finally) from A to Z Blog Challenge! Hope you can stop by mine!