I hear the word mistake used quite a bit lately and it bothers me that it’s so easy to just throw out there without any consequence.
A mistake isn’t your fault. A mistake is something you didn’t plan for. You were actually trying to do your best and you thought for sure you were doing your best, but when evaluating the situation you discover… a mistake.
Contrast that with a choice. A choice is a decision, whether pre-action or during the action, to make a move in direction or another.
What triggered this awareness of the issue was a recent TV show I was watching. It was a scene of a mother and daughter discussing heatedly about the newly discovered pregnancy of the daughter. She was explaining to her mother what happened and she said. “Mom, I’m sorry, it was a mistake!”. With both characters crying in each others arms the mother says. “I’m so sorry dear, I know that mistakes happen”. WHAT? My verbal alarm bells went off and I said very loudly to myself. This is not the definition of a mistake. This is a choice. I didn’t hear much more of the show after that, because my mind was reeling with things people do and say that soften the consequences and keep us short of growing up.
The daughter and the unknown father of the child obviously did not make a mistake. They made a choice. It was a poor choice of words for the writers of the show… or maybe not in an effort to make it seem ok. It doesn’t matter what you think about the scenario. What matters is how you approach the problem. Mistakes can be erased. Choices have consequences.
I’m overweight. This is not a mistake. It’s been a choice. Thankfully now I have a new choice and that is to get rid of this mistake…or choice in my life and lose the excess weight. How many other things in our lives do we not take credit for and stand accountable for our own CHOICES.
Is your current health a mistake or a choice. Or better yet a matter of genes. Really? So you are telling me that you did everything perfectly and just happened to get sick? No, of course not. Health may be a hot topic because I know people get cancer and other diseases and they did not ask for it. So I’m talking about sickness or overall health issues we tend to find ourselves in that are certainly the result of life choices and not mistakes.
Let’s get away from health and talk about finances. Are you stuck. Was you last job a “mistake”? or maybe your current job. Have you made the choice to watch TV and play and not focus on advancing your skill set? Outside of winning the lottery or waiting on an inheritance, there are only 2 ways to improve your financial situation. Work harder, which no one really wants to do. Or increase your skills and become worth more per hour. That’s a choice.
I don’t want to jump into too many specifics because I want you to just think, as I have, about all of the actual choices I made to put me where I am today. Most of them good. Some where not the best choice.
Regardless of your current level of satisfaction with your current health or finances or relationships, let’s agree to take responsibility for our choices and not just call them mistakes. The eraser on your #2 pencil won’t erase bad health.
Today we can make better choices. The first step is awareness. Become aware of your choices and own them. Good or bad, own them. I know it has helped me become a better person over the last several months by realizing that I make my own choices. Your world is created by your choices. So make good ones.
What things have you written off as mistakes, but were actually a choice? Are there other words you or others say that probably need to be removed from your vocabulary?