Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Better a Mistake than a Regret

Mistake is such a funny term, it can encompass everything from...wearing the wrong shoes with an outfit to marrying the wrong person. Some mistakes are just blips, but some have lasting impact.

There’s this instinctive need in everyone to stop ourselves from making a mistake. And I know I try to protect my children and have them learn from my mistakes. That “I know better than you, I’ve already made that mistake, let me help you” talk never works. (Much to my dismay, although I keep trying) Everyone has to learn from their own missteps.

Sometimes the missteps take me in directions I’d never even considered despite my unswerving “worst case scenario” outlook, nobly handed down from my grandmother to my mother to me.

Have you ever been on the cusp of a decision, wondering which path to chose, wondering what is the “right” decision? Sometimes nearly crippled by indecision.

I remember finally figuring out a core truth for myself. I honestly don’t recall what the decision was about but I remember weighing the pros and cons (and yes I will do this frequently) teeter-tottering back and forth as one side got heavier in my mind. Until I was finally struck by what I really needed to do.

Now I gauge most decisions by this hard and fast question: Will I regret it if I don’t _____?

So have I made mistakes? Of course, but as much as I occasionally regret the outcome, I don’t regret the choice.


ps. So when that mistake knocks you flat, just pick yourself up (get treatment if need be–kidding, mostly) and then move on because that’s what humans do...we evolve.


L.G.C. Smith said...

That question is so important: Will I regret it if I don't...finish this novel, keep writing the next one, and get them to readers. I find it's easier to know what I will and won't regret now than it was twenty years ago. Although the only reason I finished my Ph.D. was because even after I knew I didn't want an academic career, I would have regretted not completing the degree. That might have been the only thing I knew then. :)

Unknown said...

LGC--As we know, I'm kinda wussy. So I really have to force myself sometimes to do things that are outside my comfort zone (worst case scenario me) and yet I really want to try them (semi-adventurous me) :) And using that question as a benchmark ALWAYS helps. :)

Gigi Pandian said...

"I gauge most decisions by this hard and fast question: Will I regret it if I don’t _____?"

You said it, Lisa. It's hard to know at the time if something is worth it, but if we'll always wonder, there's no excuse for not going for it :)