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  • James McNeil

Why it's not a bad thing to make mistakes

“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” Will Rogers.


When you think about the mistakes you’ve made, you can start to get overwhelmed. It’s not a good idea to forget your past mistakes, because they taught you something. But it is not a good idea to dwell on them either. Doing so can bring about despair, and that can be deadly.

After I was discharged from the US Army, I had a lot of time to think about my past mistakes. Part of this came from me not being able to find work. For years, I’d heard my recruiter, the drill sergeants in basic and AIT, and the sergeants from my unit tell me over and over again that veterans are easily hired because employers wanted to hire them.

Then I was unceremoniously discharged from the Army, and I found that to not be true. I started looking back at things I’d done that I considered mistakes. I had a good job in the Army, but all I wanted was out. I started to miss the Army (which is natural), but I missed more than just the camaraderie. I missed having work. I missed being able to provide. I found myself looking back at the Army the way the Israelites must have looked back at Egypt; focusing on the good times and forgetting that there were days I hated it.

I started to believe I had made a huge mistake by leaving the Army. That was compounded by the training that I’d passed up in the Army and the fact that I was ill equipped to handle life as a veteran.

It took a long time for me to realize one thing. I’d made mistakes, and I could not deny that. But success is all about “going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm” according to Winston Churchill. (Maybe he didn’t say it, but the truth is still there.)

As you look back at your life, especially when you’re in a low moment, you will see failure after failure. Lincoln did. Churchill did. As I’ve mentioned in another blog entry, Michael Jordan did. They were successful people, but not because they somehow did not fail, but because they did not let their failures and mistakes rob them of their desire to succeed.

You and I are in the same boat. Like them, we will fail. Like them, we can go “from failure to failure” and not lose our enthusiasm. That is the secret to succeeding.

Stress over your past mistakes is only one of the many obstacles you can learn how to overcome in Finding Your Personal Mission. Get your copy today on Amazon and Audible!

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