Why You Shouldn't Learn From Your Mistakes

Photo Credit: Denial by César Astudillo, on Flickr. 

Photo Credit: Denial by César Astudillo, on Flickr. 

It's been a while since I've put my thoughts in a blog form... Over a year actually... Not because I stopped having thoughts that I wanted to share, but rather I had been buried in my thoughts. 

One particular thought had been haunting me lately, as I've been through a difficult and confusing time, and had to make many major decisions within a span of a few months... And it wasn't easy. I have somewhat of a phobia of making decisions (not sure if there is a scientific term for that... Let me google it... *few seconds later*: Aha, it's called Decidophobia), mostly because all of my life, I've been afraid of making the wrong decisions, making mistakes and ending up disappointed with the results... Which is more than often what happened. I guess by the "Law of Attraction", we do always attract the things we fear the most. For most of my life, I tried coasting it by not really wanting anything in particular or pushing for certain things, but rather just taking it easy and doing the best I can with what I get. And alhamdulillah (Thanks be to God), I've had a pretty good life. I wouldn't say it's a happy carefree life, for most of it, I wasn't really truly happy, but I am also wise enough to know I got nothing much to complain about, most of the time. That, on its own, is a blessing to be thankful for. 

Yet, I can't help shake the feeling that I could have done more, achieved more, wanted more... It's the perfectionist in me that drives me to reach higher, but it's that exact part of me too that makes me fear to reach and fall to my failure. Wisdom entails that we look at our mistakes and our failures as learning opportunities... The thought that's been haunting me is: How exactly do we know what we're supposed to learn from our mistakes?!

It may seem simple enough for most of you, when you make a rash decision, that ends up being a mistake, that you need to learn to take your time before you make a decision next time... That if you trusted the wrong person, next time, you look for similar signs that deems another person untrustworthy so you may not fall in the same trap. Perhaps you feel that you make the mistake of being too open too soon, and you need to learn to hold back and control your thoughts and behavior... Once you've been through an adversity, your mind wanders to understand what has befallen you and why, looking for explanations, justifications, and perhaps a "bright side"... Perhaps one of the biggest fallacies we fall for is that "everything happens for a reason", and we often fall on the belief that the reason is that we were supposed to learn something from that experience...

Maybe we did need to learn something, but how do you know that what you deduced and learnt is actually the lesson you're supposed to learn? If it had been so easy to learn that lesson, just by experiencing something you probably still don't understand, why wasn't it obvious to begin with? Do our brains and logic really change so much by experiencing something negative, and suddenly we acquire clarity and wisdom we did not have before? Unless we've been through a trauma, we're unlikely to have changed so much that it actually enhances our logic... So whatever logic that got us first to make a mistake, is the same logic that got us to the "lesson" we're supposed to learn from that experience... Which, logically, will only lead us to make more mistakes!

So maybe the reason we push so much to try to learn from our mistakes is our fear from making the same mistake again... But guess what, no two mistakes or experiences are ever the same... It will always be different people, or a different situation, or a different mental state, etc. There are basically endless opportunities to make mistakes.... So maybe the best we can do is not to try to find some wisdom in it, and search for a lesson to learn, but just to accept it, let it go, and move on... And hope that with each adversity, since you may not be getting any wiser, you would at least be getting better and faster at getting over it.

What lessons do you think you've learnt lately?