an act or judgement that is misguided or wrong: coming here was a mistake | she made the mistake of thinking they were important.
ORIGIN late Middle English (as a verb): from Old Norse mistaka ‘take in error’, probably influenced in sense by Old French mesprendre .
I recently had the experience of having to review a recorded phone call as the result of some errors that were made in a customer service enquiry. It was a 30-minute phone call where the operator was being reviewed on the information that was being communicated to the customer. This got me thinking about how the things we say, the opinions we have, the judgements we make and the actions we take can all be recorded, photographed or videoed and stored in time.
It raised a question in my mind. If I was to be recorded during the next action I was going to take or during the next conversation I have, would I do it? Would I actually be ok with going “on record” and expressing myself? Or would I want to sit back, keep my lips tight, hands and feet to myself and fly under the radar?
Imagine living that way. Where everything you did went on record. Some people do. Celebrities do. World leaders do. CEOs do. But the majority do not. Most of us have the option of publicising only certain things about ourselves through means of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all other forms of social media.
There’s a problem with this though. When only certain things go public about who we are, the thoughts we have and the things that we do with our time, the truth about who we are becomes distorted. It becomes filtered. Cherry-picked. See the issue here is that most celebrities tend to have issues with their lives being publicised or in their words, exploited. They don’t like that the media and public make them out to be somewhat superhuman or an exception to the laws of nature.
However, when asked, these celebrities tend to say they prefer it when they are treated like a human. Like a person who has feelings, anxieties, fears, problems with expressing themselves clearly, being vulnerable and even going through human relationships with loved ones. They are as much human beings as you and I.
Now, this is in no way a defence on the behalf of the celebrity culture. It’s merely a real-life demonstration of living a life where every action, thought and emotion essentially gets put on record and then judged.
Imagine living this way. Where people could scrutinise your every thought, action and opinion with other people. People you don’t even know!
That would seem strange, no doubt.
Now, I realise that my opinion is being expressed “on record” in this very blog post and in most other blog posts on my website. But I do so knowing that my words may be pulled apart, scrutinised and criticised. Therefore I have very little desire to filter the words I’m typing (except for grammatical errors).
What I’ve found through personal experience is that the more we attempt to control our self-expression the more we place ourselves in the firing range of others. I’m talking about the absolute and total free expression of self.
All of this leads me back to the question I asked myself when listening to that phone recording. If I was being recorded for other people to see what I’m about to say or do, would I do it?
When I make what I think is a mistake I think of what the lesson was for me. What was it that I needed to learn about myself or the world through making that mistake I just made? I also think about what the lesson was for the people who saw me make that very mistake?
The way I see it. Mistakes are only mistakes if the lesson was not learnt. So that being the case, if we never made mistakes, would we learn and expand? The more mistakes that are made the more lessons that are learnt. That’s a pretty cool way to live a life – learning.
I get to teach and educate myself and others through making “mis…takes”. It takes the pressure off living. Especially in today’s society where the colour of your shoelaces can be knit picked and labelled. So go out and make mistakes. Live a life full of mistakes and chances are, you’ll realise that there are no mistakes.
If you take an experience with your hand and inspect it with the greatest amount of detail, you’ll find that there is no need to put it back into the “mistakes” box. It was the very thing you needed at that time.
Imagine being asked at the end of your life “what did you do with your time?”
“I learnt a lot of lessons and I’ve loved every single one of them.”
That to me is what I call a life well spent.