What I’ve Learned from Mistakes

Gracie Shoell, Copy Editor

We’ve all made mistakes in our life – ones that we really regret, ones that we wish never would have happened.  We have all had cringeworthy moments that make us wilt in embarrassment, but the most important thing to keep in mind with these mistakes is what we can learn from them.

One of the worst mistakes I’ve made was at my viola recital.  I had practiced my song relentlessly, until I was sure that I had it memorized.  The day before, I practiced it for the first time with the pianist, and I couldn’t remember my song; it was a lot harder to play with the piano.  I stumbled and made mistakes in places that hadn’t given me any trouble before.  I could only practice with the pianist for so long before she had to leave, but even after she did I continued to go over my song.  I thought I would be okay at the recital, and I couldn’t do anything more to prepare for it, so I practiced briefly without the pianist the day of my recital, expecting to do well.

When I got there, I was really nervous.  The boy who went before me did a great job and I wasn’t sure I could reach the bar that had now been set.  My palms were sweaty and I was shaking, but I couldn’t tell anybody that.  So when it was my turn, I walked up to the front and started my song.  I played well enough at the beginning of my piece, but then I got lost and didn’t know where to pick back up again because the pianist just kept playing.  Finally, I recognized where she was at and jumped back into the music again, finishing off the song.  My cheeks burned with shame, and I hung my head as I trudged back to my seat, wanting nothing more than to sink into the floor and disappear.

When I got back from the recital, I practiced for nearly two hours until I was able to play the song perfectly.  I was so upset with myself for forgetting the song when it counted the most, when I was the center of attention and people were judging me.  I determined that I would never again let that happen to me; I wouldn’t ever come unprepared and unpracticed for a performance again.

From this mistake, as mortifying and dreadful as it was, I learned to prepare for and perfect something before you do it.  I learned that even though I thought I was ready, I wasn’t; if I had practiced with the pianist earlier on, I would’ve been able to sort through my mistakes and have the song well rounded before I had to perform it.

The next time I had a performance coming up, I practiced my song until I knew it inside and out.  I put hours, days, weeks, and even months into preparing for it, because I knew I would be performing in front of a judge and it would be easy to forget my song.

When the time for my performance came, I wasn’t nervous at all – I was even a little excited.  I had practiced my song so much that I knew there was no way I could get it wrong, even if I tried.  I played the song perfectly and when I got my score back from the judge I found out that I could go to state.

All from that one embarrassing moment, I learned the importance of preparing well in advance for performances, and I even got over my stage fright.  Now I am not bothered in the slightest to perform in front of others.  Even though in the moment, my forgetting the song was awful and I felt like I would never live it down, it taught me so much more than I would’ve learned if my performance had gone well.

Sydney Hansen, a sophomore at Bingham High School, said, “If I make a mistake on something, the next time I make a mistake I know how to fix it.  Most mistakes I’ve made I’m grateful for because next time something comes around like that I can fix it and learn from it; I can do better.”

McKenna Spens, a student at Bingham High School, said that from mistakes “I’ve learned how to be better and to never give up on what I’m going for.  They [mistakes] have helped me to fix the problem, and it ended up being better than if I hadn’t made the mistake.”

Mistakes might be hard for us in the moment, but in the end we learn from them and it is for the best.  There is never a mistake made that we can’t learn something from.  It’s important to use our mistakes to help ourselves improve, not to get down on ourselves for everything we’re doing wrong.  We all make mistakes and they are necessary in order for us to continuously improve and learn.