Learning From Mistakes/Failures
The fastest way to learn is to mess something up and then figure out why it didn’t work. In fact, some of my biggest moments of growth have come from making mistakes. Today I’m going to tell a few stories of things that I’ve messed up and what I learned from them so that you can avoid making the same mistakes.
I went camping with some friends one time and we ended up coming back in the middle of the night because we decided we’d rather sleep in beds than tents (go figure). When we got back we were all so tired we went straight inside to bed. The next morning I went out to my car to bring everything inside and was carrying my two backpacks, my tea mug, and my shoes (I had flip flops on). I put everything in my car, carefully putting my shoes on top to put inside after my backpacks and mug, and then casually drove away. I had driven for about 15 minutes when I realized my mistake… too late, they were gone. From this experience I learned to always be conscientious when exhausted and make sure to double check everything (this is especially relevant when traveling long distances because jet lag is a real thing and I don’t sleep well on planes. In addition to the exhaustion, I’m carrying all of my most important things on my person, so checking is key).
Sometime last year I was looking at Robinhood (an investing app) for fun and trying to figure out what would do well in the upcoming months. I came up with some “good” ideas (guesses) and then decided to invest a few hundred dollars. In the next few days my stocks tanked and I lost about 50 dollars. It was at this point that I realized I actually needed the money for buying food and paying bills, so I took the money out: Down 50 bucks, just like that. From this I realized that I should only ever invest money that I don’t need and once money is invested, it’s gone. It’s good to invest money with the perspective that it will never get taken out, forever. If money can grow in perpetuity, then one can live off of the dividends, but if one is messing with their money all the time, then it will undoubtedly shrink. Don’t invest unless it’s excess and once it’s in, leave it.
I got a free three month trial to Barrons a while ago and read articles often for the first month or so. As time went by I got busier and stopped reading the news as much. So, when the time came around for my subscription to renew, I had totally forgotten. I ended up paying about 60 dollars for a subscription I wasn’t even using. Now, this taught me a few things. First of all, I had done this before with other companies and called their support to ask for my money back. Every company I called had obliged and paid me back (this is a lesson: when you want something from a company, ask. Most will do their best to support their customers). However, Barrons did no such thing. I called them and they refused. This made me upset, especially because cancelling their subscription is so challenging (you have to call during business hours… I’m a young person, so this is hard. Most companies will let you just click a button). Anyway, I’m never going to use Barrons again after that experience. I learned to always put the customer first as a company and to stay on top of my own personal subscriptions.
To wrap up, I feel stupid for making mistakes in my life sometimes or in the cases that I hurt others, I feel actively mournful, however I don’t regret my mistakes. Without making them, I would still be stuck as how I was before. Making mistakes isn’t inherently bad, and unless they cause irreversible harm, they are simply learning opportunities. I was talking with my best friend Dylan once about this concept and said: “There is no success or failure. There is only learning and learning.” It’s crucial to realize that it’s okay to mess up and to fail as long as it helps you grow and be a better version of yourself.