What Mistake Taught You The Most?

It can be argued that a mistake teaches you more than success does. We learn what not to do, as well as how to deal with adversity.

No one is perfect, and so for each and every one of us, errors are bound to happen. How we respond to our flubs and gaffes can be show us a lot about ourselves.

These mistakes can happen in any area of our lives, but no doubt some are more significant than others. Errors we make as children in school can be formative.

Similarly, learning from a screw-up on the job can ultimately make you a better co-worker or leader. And how you react when your let down your loved ones — and how they react to you in those instances — can inform your personality.

Can you think of a particular mistake that taught you the most? What lesson did you learn? Were you shaped by something that you got wrong — or your response to it?

Related questions: When is it useful to fail? How do you define success? What beliefs do you have that might be wrong? What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever learned? What is uncomfortable but rewarding?

1 thought on “What Mistake Taught You The Most?”

  1. In my mid-30s I was diagnosed with chronic Anxiety and Depression — likely something I suffered from since my teenage years. For a short period of time, I kept the diagnosis to myself and a couple of close loved ones. Medications fairly quickly treated my Depression, but Anxiety remained — and remains — an issue. Within a very short period of time I decided to be transparent about my struggles.


    I soon found out that people thought I was agitated or angry with them when, in fact, I was simply being taunted by my Anxiety and not interacting with the world in what was/is deemed “normal.” I soon realized that, in keeping my mental health difficulties to myself, I was hurting and/or confusing other people. And, I presumed, I was only finding out about the tip of the iceberg. Likely many other people had no idea why I was acting the way I was.

    I realize my decision works — for the most part — for me; it may not work for everyone.

    Let me use this opportunity to share other reasons I’ve stayed open about my struggles:

    • One of the worst feelings when you are experiencing Anxiety and / or Depression is that you feel so alone, so isolated. You even convince yourself that no one understands or even wants to know what you are going through. I share my experience because I’ve been told that my sharing has helped others not feel so alone and isolated.

    • I want to fight the stigma attached to mental illnesses. Some people still have backward thoughts about people who suffer from mood disorders. Some think of us as weak; but it takes incredible strength to live with a mental illness. Some think of us as people who can’t contribute to the rest of society. There may be times when it’s hard to contribute; but it doesn’t mean we don’t try and often succeed.

    • I want people who don’t suffer from Anxiety and Depression to know at least one perspective about what it’s like. Also, I’ve been told that my openness has helped others who have friends, family, and / or colleagues who suffer from Anxiety and / or Depression understand what is still an issue closeted in some segments of society.

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