"I fucked up." "I can't believe I did that." "I'm such an idiot." All of these are things I've said. Usually when I've forgotten something, but always when I think I did something wrong. All of these responses are instinctive. Although lately, I've started to question if they should be. Every time you mess something up, or make a decision you think you will regret, you aren't just experiencing an annoyance, you are doing something some people pay 70k+ a year to do. You are learning. You are gaining insight first hand on how you can do things better next time. No textbook (but maybe a wise grandmother) can teach you that.
There's an immeasurable spectrum of "mistakes." From forgetting everything everywhere (my life) to majoring in the wrong thing, to not studying enough for a test, to marrying the wrong person. Mistakes are something everyone experiences, every day. They are also something that reverberates for days, weeks and sometimes lifetimes after they happen, and can be crushing to one's spirit.
So before this gets too depressing I want to address why I do not think that mistakes are bad. The kind that keep us up at night, or discourages us, or makes us feel like failures. I believe that mistakes shouldn't be something to be feared, but rather something that should be sought after. Of course, no one likes failing, but someone who has gone through trial and error time and time again will have so much more knowledge, and so much more power, than someone who tried once and succeeded.
Every grievance you face holds something invaluable, and that thing is a lesson. A lesson about life, or choices, or happiness, or friendships, or what type of food is just simply not worth your time. We say that we take others advice and hold it true, but I strongly believe that no decision you've ever made while attending to your own will, was solely because someone else told you to. And if it was, I am sure whatever it was did not turn out exactly as you expected. We need the experience to understand. We need to make mistakes in order to learn how to do things right.
Life is all about learning and growing. No one comes into life knowing how to do everything, otherwise, they wouldn't have much purpose. It would be as if they had already done it. Life would be so boring. My point is to embrace new experiences, embrace the mistakes and embrace the embarrassments because every single one is going to lead you closer to understanding who you are and what you stand for. Some may reach this conclusion sooner than others and that is okay! Life is not a race, nor a competition. In the words of Baz Luhrman, "Don't waste your time on jealousy, sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself."
I'm only 20 but I know for damn sure that you only regret the chances you don't take.
There's a reason for this saying and it encompasses my thoughts perfectly. Life is imperfect, life is full of disappointments, but the reason we're all still here is that someone understood that it is not about wallowing in defeat, it is about rising up. It is about charging forward armed with all of your experiences, and showing the world what you have learned.
Unlike what many assume, life is not a competition of talents, it's a competition of growth. A competition with your former self, that is. If you try to grow a little bit every day, try something new every day, it won't matter what talents you started with. Humans' capacity to learn and improve is second to none, and one of the most powerful things on our planet.
Look for things that inspire you, and let it fuel you. No matter what the obstacle is, you can and you will overcome it. I do not believe in the phrase "I'm not good at that." Instead, I like "I'm not experienced at that." No person ever became amazing at something without years and years of devout practice. Whatever your goal might be and however far out it may seem, you can achieve it.
Accept uncertainty. Do not let fear of the unknown keep you from something. Do not let a fear of mistakes stop you from trying. We all look silly or stupid or inexperienced at some point because we are. Imperfection is what makes us human, so embrace it.