Own Your Errors

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Thought for the Week

“Admit your mistakes,” is hardly the motto of our current culture. If anything, it’s the opposite. Being exposed for having ever been anything other than what one claims to be can mark the end of a career, or even, tragically, a life. Suicide, which is at an all-time high, is more-often-than-not, tied to having one’s carefully crafted public image shattered.

To be successful, politicians are expected to, one, prove they don’t make mistakes, and two, prove their opponent does. If caught having ever done otherwise, the standard response is deny, deny, deny, along with a healthy dose of retaliatory image-assault.

And so we celebrate narcissists and liars, while secretly wondering why we aren’t as perfect as they are. The answer is simple: No one is.

Including them.

Refreshingly, the Apostle Paul advises his young mentee Timothy to “be a model” to others by diligently fulfilling his calling. “So that,” he adds, “your progress may be seen by all” (1 Timothy 4:15). In other words: learn from your mistakes, make corrections, and grow stronger because of it…

In public!

Why? Because people desperately need leaders—in showbiz, sports, factories and families–who model not how to be perfect (lie), but how to own their errors and learn to do better…

In front of God and everyone!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to Own Your Errors

  1. This is a timely word, Mitch. Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Athira says:

    True..acceptance required for everything

    Liked by 3 people

  3. carolannec says:

    Thanks for this! So on point.
    Honesty is worth more than infallibility.
    We’re human!
    I’d always rather see a learning curve than fake excellence. Learning allows for growth, flexibility, empathy and, most importantly, a mechanism for change.
    Even when you think you have a subject all pegged out, the world will change around you – a wise person will revisit and reevaluate.

    Liked by 9 people

  4. kindfeelings says:

    The self knowledge gained from admitting your errors is priceless.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. revruss1220 says:

    Precisely! This is why I have such an affection for the quarterback of my favorite NFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2018 and the Most Valuable Player in the 2019 Super Bowl, but most of his comments in interviews are about how much he still has to learn in order to be a better player.
    Sorry… couldn’t resist.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. If we don’t learn from our mistakes, we won’t learn. The key to wisdom is knowing when we’re wrong and promptly admitting it.

    Years ago I was teaching an electronics class and in one lab experiment there was a chance the students could cause one of their components to emit a scary spark and turn to smoke. We teachers debated this for awhile and decided it was better to let them burn a circuit rather than rewrite the lab so they couldn’t do that. We started to ask ourselves in the teaching process, “how to safely let the students fail.” After a few burnt parts, no one in my lab ever made that mistake again.

    Liked by 7 people

  7. henhouselady says:

    If we don’t admit our mistakes, we won’t learn from them. It’s too bad people can’t learn from other people’s mistakes. It appears we have to make a large number of our own in order to grow.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Yes Yes Yes and Yes. Owning mistakes wise in time is one of the most respectable qualities of people and leadership from my perspective. I’ve started losing the word “mistake” and substituting OFLs. Opportunities For Learning. It feels to extend the owning part into process discussion for all, much like Abe Lincoln’s, “Learn from others’ mistakes as you do not have time to make them all yourself.”

    Thanks fort this excellent post, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Clever Girl says:

    We’re publicly and privately shamed when we make mistakes, generally speaking. No wonder people don’t want to admit them!

    I really admire people when they admit their mistake and apologize or try to rectify it. It makes me respect and trust them and I believe most people feel that way. It takes a lot of character and integrity to do this. But I can also forgive if the person is unable to and try find some understanding. At least, that’s what I strive for.

    Would you be willing to forgive if someone made a big mistake and couldn’t admit it or make amends?

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Erika says:

    I think the problem is that we see mistakes as failure. But they are simply ways to improve our knowledge and experience. Seeing it that way makes it easier to overcome the ego and admit a mistake.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I heard the willingness to admit one’s mistakes called “failing forward.”

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Yes, admitting failure/ mistakes is hard! I think what we are really hiding from is our shame. I’m reading this great book called Defending Shame right now about this concept and Paul’s defense and use of shame as a tool for moral instruction. It’s great food for thought!

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Awesome reminder! This is what I live by… gotta go back with Jesus when He comes!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. willedare says:

    A wise blog post followed by great comments! I lead music classes for small children and their accompanying grownups (parents/grandparents/nannies), and one of the most important parts of our training is to honor any and all “oops” moments in our classes so that the other grownups see that it’s OK to make mistakes. These include simple things like forgetting how a song starts or not singing the lyrics of a song with perfect accuracy. On the much more profound topic of making mistakes for which one needs to apologize and/or make amends, I agree that an apology can be enormously powerful and significant when offered sincerely/vulnerably. The older I get, the more impressed I am by the power/importance of seemingly simple things like saying “please” and “thank you” and “I’m sorry….”

    Liked by 4 people

  15. hannahtk says:

    So difficult to do, and so freeing! Great post, Much.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. hannahtk says:

    So hard to do, yet so freeing. Great post, Mitch. In my book Napping in Delilah’s Lap (coming Winter 2020,) I tackle this irreplacable requirement that God has for us. He powerfully empowers us to carry it out. In the course of my confessions, I’ve generally been met with abundant grace, where I expected shaming and condemnation.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. hannahtk says:

    Mitch, (sorry about that).

    Liked by 2 people

  18. cindy knoke says:

    Wow. You got me with, ““Admit your mistakes,” is hardly the motto of our current culture. If anything, it’s the opposite ”
    And then you said, “And so we celebrate narcissists and liars.’
    You know Paul communicates with us.
    Jesus does too.
    It is challenging for me to tease out what Jesus actually said, from what people say he said.
    All I know, is that all my life I prayed to Jesus.
    And, eventually.
    He answered.
    Everything changed for me then.
    And it took a really time.

    Liked by 5 people

  19. Ann Coleman says:

    I couldn’t agree more! What a shame that our children are seeing such bad examples from so many leaders these days….there is nothing wrong with making mistakes, we all do. The secret is to simply admit them, apologize and make amends when needed, and move on. God forgives us and we need to be able to forgive ourselves as well. And if we’re really lucky, we may even learn from our mistakes!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Beaton says:

    On point advice
    People are desperately in need of guidance
    ~B

    Liked by 4 people

  21. Very true, and important to remember.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. frenchc1955 says:

    Mitch, thank you so much for this desperately needed advice to the world.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Kalvin Cinco says:

    Yes! It’s disappointing that nowadays we see most people just washing their hands and blaming others so they can step up the ladder. We need more prayers and guidance in this day and age.

    Liked by 5 people

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  25. trabraham12 says:

    Hello. Thank you for this post. Our American culture seems to lack intellectual humility. No one can possibly know everything even if they wish they do. The key is to accept one’s own ignorance and “own your errors.”

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Thank you for this…admitting our mistakes contributes to our growth!

    Liked by 3 people

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  28. Akshay Iyer says:

    Great one! Keep spreading the positive and true words!

    Liked by 3 people

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  31. exhebdenmick says:

    It works for me.
    During my first week as an IT manager at an English Local Authority we had a bit of a catastrophe with our benefits payments system which meant that at least a couple of thousand people who depended on these benefits got them a day late. I stayed with my staff as we all worked through the night to find and fix the problem and to minimise the impact.
    There was the normal formal post mortem after any such event mid-morning with the CEO the next day and I was absolutely stunned by the corporate response when I “claimed” responsibility. I apologised for it and said that we had made an error, found out what had caused it, fixed it, tested it, worked through the night to get it done as quickly as we could and get the payments out, and that we would be re-running some suite testing to see if we could find any other problems that might crawl out of the woodwork.
    The response was stunned silence, disbelief, and finally, begrudging appreciation. My new boss took me to one side afterwards and told me that was not the way they did things there – but asked me to keep on doing it. I did and I found consistently that people cut me a lot more slack because I was prepared to be honest and tell them what had happened rather than trying to cover my backside..

    Liked by 3 people

  32. exhebdenmick says:

    Best thing was that it acted a bit like a virus and others caught the bug too. Not all unfortunately, but then you shouldn’t expect to win them all!

    Liked by 3 people

  33. This is a great word! Thank you so much

    Liked by 3 people

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  35. Great reminder for complete acceptance

    Liked by 1 person

  36. alexthabane says:

    Forgiveness is a superpower.

    Liked by 1 person

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  38. Aimee P says:

    Amen! This is so true. It’s humbling and it’s real.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Wonderful. Thank you for this beautifully-crafted instruction.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. This is a great admonition. Love it, Mitch. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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