The Value of a Mistake


I have been agonizing over this post for two weeks now.

Partly because I am going to share something super personal and partly because I wanted to find a way to convey the simple (yet, not easy) idea that mistakes bring growth.

A quick Google search will bring up a bunch of quotes about mistakes.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” -Albert Einstein
“Your best teacher is your last mistake.”
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”
And my very favorite:
“Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.”
    That one is the idea I wanted to talk about here.

    But first, a story.

    Early in my marriage, I was slapped in the face by the reality that someone else has an opinion about lots of things that I used to do independently.

    Spending money, for example. I used to buy what I wanted when I wanted it. If I could afford it, that is. And if I couldn’t afford, say, a new pair of shoes, if I wanted to skip lunch or stop driving places to conserve gas in an effort to direct what funds I did have towards buying new shoes, nobody was around to tell me this was a bad idea.

    Marriage is hard like that. I mean, my husband was all… "where’s the grocery money?" and I’m over here in front of a full-length mirror admiring my new shoes, like, uhhhhhhhhhhh………

    Long story short: I took to lying.

    I’m not proud of this, mind you. I'm just honest here. I would buy things and tell him they were on some crazy sale. I would spend less at the grocery store so I could hoard the leftover cash to spend on myself. I would hide purchases I had no explanation for in the trunk of the car for weeks, and when they finally emerged I’d be like, “This old thing? Oh, I’ve had this for a looooooong time.”

    Eventually, (obviously) I got caught.

    A bunch of times actually. But one time, my husband said something that rocked my world. He said something to the effect of, “Why are you lying about such dumb things? And, if you’ll lie about this stuff, how can I trust you on bigger, more important things?”

    Lump in throat. Face drained of color. Stomach tied in knots. Cold sweat. Ugh. He’s right. I am the worst. I am not worthy of trust.

    This feeling of guilt lasted for so long.

    I apologized of course, but that doesn’t make it better. Only time and honesty can do that.

    But that feeling I had when he spoke those words to me changed me. Whatever the reason, it hit me with such weight; I was determined to change. I wanted to be worthy of his trust. I wanted to be worthy of everyone’s trust.
    I wanted to be different.

    And I am now.  I am different.

    I took that mistake (or series of mistakes) and used them to learn a lesson. I let that mistake make me better.

    That’s what mistakes can do, right?
    I have made much more and in many different areas of life, but if I learn from them, they are not places to roll over and die, but rather, places to pause, think, learn and improve.

    In a yoga class I was in once, the teacher said this,
    “Everything on your path is your teacher, and your teacher is wise.”

    It can be true if we let it.

    We are all going to continue to make mistakes, but they can add value to our lives if we learn from them. They can make us better.

    This idea is what came to mind when I came upon these mint-error pennies.  They are pennies that went wrong during the stamping process.  Typically, the errors are caught, and they are discarded.  But, occasionally, they make it out of the mint and into circulation.  They are collector's items because of their rarity and worth far more than the intended one cent.  

    Mint Error penny necklace

    I loved this idea that what was initially seen as a mistake, adds value to the coin. 

    This is what I will think about every time I wear my necklace.  I will continue to make mistakes, but I am always learning from them.  

    I guess you could say the longer we live, the better we can become.  

    “Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.”

     Mint Error Penny Necklace

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    • #amen…I want this to add to my collection.

      Ali on
    • Loved the post and most importantly your honesty. I’m sure you’ve stirred up some thoughts and emotions in those reading this, me included.

      Alice on
    • Wow. I loved this and love your honesty. Beautiful necklace that has beautiful meaning. You rock Kelly!

      Katie on
    • Awesome and powerful. I love it. Love the necklace and the lesson. Thanks for sharing.

      Christy on
    • I.LOVE.THIS!!!!!!

      Cydney McBride on

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