Gratitude Challenge Day 14: Give Thanks for Your Mistakes

This is Day 14 of the 14-Day Gratitude Challenge where hundreds of participants around the world gathered to practice gratitude for 14 days. This challenge was conducted in Aug 2013 and is now over–however, you can still do the tasks in your own time! Visit the overview page for all Gratitude Challenge tasks and posts.

Gratitude Challenge

Hi everyone, welcome to Day 14 of our 14-day gratitude challenge! :D

While we are already at Day 14, this is not the final step for our challenge. I’m putting up one final reflection post tomorrow to round up our 14-day gratitude experience. So don’t bid your farewells yet or give roundup/review-type comments. Stick around for the final roundup coming tomorrow! :)

Day 14: Mistakes

Broken branch

Mistakes. All of us make them. But not all of us react the same way to them.

You see, some of us, being the perfectionists that we are, tend to beat ourselves up over our mistakes. “I shouldn’t have done that,” you think to yourself. Or, “I was so stupid. I wish I did things differently,” you lament.

Part of the reason is because society can be unforgiving when it comes to people who fail to live up to its vision. Singapore is an example. For years, the Singapore education system has been criticized for the stress it creates on its students because any slip ups in their academic performances will have a large implication on their academic track and subsequently his/her career options since it is largely shaped by the former. Many competitive countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong tend to have a narrow definition of success–and anyone who gravitates from this image gets labeled as a lesser person.

What we don’t realize, however, are that mistakes are what defines us–not success. Our mistakes make us stronger, wiser, and more conscious. I look at who I am today and it’s actually my past mistakes–not successes–that built my winning traits and helped me accomplish what I have today. For example, less-than-desired results in my secondary school leaving examinations led me to buck up when I was in JC and subsequently graduate as the top in my university cohort. My little bumps on the road in my journey to seek authentic love have helped me to attract the love of my life today.

So in that sense, all these past experiences were never “mistakes” per se. They were merely learning experiences. They were merely lessons in life to help us to grow and reach the next level.

Unfortunately, most people fear making mistakes so much that they stop themselves from making any kind of decision, or action altogether. Big mistake. (And now I truly use the word “mistake” in the way that it’s meant–a error in judgment.) If you never give yourself the outlet to make bad judgments, decisions, and mistakes that may not necessarily work out the way that you want, how can you ever give yourself the outlet to achieve success?

Your task today is to reflect on your past “mistakes” and give thanks for them!

Your Task: Give Thanks for Your Mistakes

  1. Thank about at least two mistakes you have made before which you felt bad about. They can be small or big mistakes; the point is that you felt bad over them at some point in time–perhaps at the very point when the mistakes were incurred.
  2. Identify three things you gained from each mistake. They can be intangible things like self-realizations, life lessons, or an improvement in your well-being. They can be tangible things like gaining (or losing) a physical object, a new person you met as a result (who subsequently became your good friend or even partner), or even the improvement of your health.
  3. Now, I would like you to review each mistake. Have you become a better person as a result of each mistake? Was each mistake truly a “mistake”, or actually a gift in disguise? You decide; it’s your own conclusion.

Daily Journaling: Write 3 Things You Are Grateful for Today

On top of today’s task, identify 3 things you are grateful for today. These 3 things can be events that occurred today, mishaps which could have happened but didn’t happen, or simply things which have always been in your life but which you suddenly came to feel grateful for today.

3 things I’m grateful for today:

  1. My future-mother-in-law has prepared a set of house keys for me because she says it’s more convenient for me lest she and my fiance are out of home and I need to go out. There has never been a need for this because she is almost always at home and my fiance and I are always together, but this would be handy in ad hoc scenarios. I thought it’s really sweet of her to do this!
  2. Having an awesome host, Servint.net, with fast-paced customer support. PE was down for about 10 minutes today and customer support promptly got it back up within minutes of me opening a ticket. Thumbs up to them for anyone looking for a VPS or dedicated hosting solutions!

    (For those of you looking for shared hosting, Host Gator is your choice. I used for them for the beginning periods of PE with much acclaim. Use coupon code “pe25percentoff” without quotes to get 25% off your entire package.)

  3. Ability to exercise and a fiance who exercises with me. I went jogging yesterday night with Ken and it was refreshing; we went for another jog again tonight. (It’s the wee hours in the morning as I’m typing this.) I love the feeling of working out and being in the peak of my health!

Share Your Results!

What are the two mistakes you chose for this exercise? What are three things you gained from each mistake? So is this really a mistake in the end or a gift in disguise?

What are 3 things you are grateful for today?

Share them in the comments section! :)

Once you’re done, proceed to our final round-up post Gratitude Challenge Roundup: Reflection, Feedback, and Next Steps Moving Forward!

Images: Gratitude, Broken branch

  • Russell Norman

    Hi Celes! Russ Norman here (“A gratitude attitude is essential”) I’ve spent the days of the Gratitude Challenge looking for outstanding websites that focus on gratitude and gratefulness and I’ve found some outstanding ones. I want to share them with you and the people taking this Challenge. How can I reach you to do that? want to do it before the Challenge is over. I don’t use any communication mode except email. My email is 1god@peoplepc.com. If you give me yours I will keep it confidential. Thanks!

    • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

      Hi Russell! You can just share them in the comments section. Thank you for your intention to share! :D

  • Madalina Sraier

    1. I wrote the wrong author name on an exam paper. This isn’t a big mistake, but at the time I was so anxious and stressed because of it, I thought I would fail the exam because I had attributed full quotes and ideas to the wrong author. Three things I have learnt from this are:
    -check not twice, but three times any paper before handing it in
    -breath deeply and try to relax – stressing too much won’t solve a thing
    -pay more attention to what you read and to details

    2. A while ago I pushed away a dear one because of my low confidence. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, like I didn’t have what it took to keep a relationship going, so I pushed the other person away despite my feelings. What I’ve learnt from this mistake:
    -people will love you for who you are and they’re well aware of the fact that you have flaws – you’re a human-being after all
    -don’t give up on those you love unless it is not a reciprocal feeling anymore
    -you don’t have to be perfect in order to be loved, you just have to be yourself

    Looking back on these two mistakes I realize that they’re just a small part of my mistakes-”portfolio”. Although I felt bad at that time, I now realize that my mistakes have helped me grow. Regarding the ones I mentioned above, I’m now more careful with my papers and I pay more attention to my studies, and I’ve become comfortable with letting people in, I’ve come to realize that I am enough and that I should appreciate myself for all that I am instead of disliking myself for what I am not.

    3 things I am grateful for today:
    -it was an easy day in terms of working; everything went smoothly and fast.
    -I have re-arranged and re-labeled my blog posts, now I can start posting again
    -the kid I’m tutoring prepared his homework and it was really good. Seeing him progressing makes me happy.

    • Bette

      Madalina, I really like what you wrote, especially:

      “you don’t have to be perfect in order to be loved, you just have to be yourself”

      That is just the best realization, isn’t it!!! That very statement is always an epiphany for me, in that I do sometimes forget, and after every forget, I am reminded to stay with my lovability, my unique individuality, and know that I am enough and….

      “appreciate myself for all that I am instead of disliking myself for what I am not.”

      Thank you for being who you are, and for writing this beautiful, profound, and inspiring post! I am grateful for it and for you!

      • Madalina Sraier

        And I should thank you for those hear-warming words. They’ve managed to put a big smile on my face. :)

    • Kiki Maria Valera

      I agree with Bette. Very beautiful post. Mind if I quote you? ;)

      • Madalina Sraier

        Thank you, Maria! And of course, I’d actually be honored to know that what I wrote struck a chord in another person so strongly as to determine the respective person to quote me. :)

  • Annette Hatley

    Mistakes I am Thankful For
    1. Flunking out of college. I went to college right after high school because my mom forced me to. I wasn’t given a choice in the matter. I didn’t want to go to college and I made that painfully obvious when I flunked out my first year. Fast-forward 24 years and after a personal attributes seminar for work, I decided to jump outside my comfort zone and go to night school. I had failed before and I was prepared for the inevitable. Long story short; I graduated with honors. I now have a B.S. in Information Technology.
    2. Not being a good steward of my assets. I have a tendency to turn a blind eye to saving when I’m doing well financially and bemoaning my plight when I’m not. Slowly and steadily I have being getting rid of my debts. I’ve been given a good-paying job and have been saving carefully. I’ve mentioned this before, but I am in the process of selling my house to get a smaller one with a smaller mortgage. I have a financial plan and goal in mind and I’m well on my way to achieving it.

    I am sure there are other life mistakes I’ve made that have helped shaped me, but the two above are the most prominent. I’ve learned that I need to believe in myself and give myself a break when I don’t do all that well. As a former boss used to tell me, “Now you know what to do for next time!”

    Three Things I’m Grateful For Today.
    1. MLK. Today is the anniversary of Dr. King’s march on Washington, DC. I work in DC and the traffic is going to be horrendous, but I am thankful for what Dr. King stood for–Civil Rights for all.
    2. Love my quiet mornings!
    3. Talked with a friend last night and found out that all the cancerous cells have been removed and she’s clean! Four months from now, she’ll get another check up, but all is very positive. This is someone I’ve known for 40 years, so her impact in my life is integral.

    • Bette

      Annette, congrats on that degree with honors, and for figuring out what will be the most helpful for you to live your best life…mistakes and all! I really like that statement, “Now you know what to do for next time!”

      Congrats as well with your debt-clearing and with your saving $ as well. That is a beautiful thing! In many ways, I really relate to and have always been in a process of honoring myself (or not), and your saying “I’ve learned that I need to believe in myself and give myself a break when I don’t do all that well” really is a perfect fit with me as well.

      I am SO glad to hear that your lifetime friend is CLEAR of ALL those cancerous cells, and that she remain CLEAR for all of the days of her beautiful, long life!!!

      Continued success with everything and with your honoring yourself! Thank you for this post.

      PS. I too love and appreciate my quiet mornings!!!

    • Kiki Maria Valera

      Yes, we can all use a lesson in savings! ;)

      I love it when people, especially women, go back to school. I always hear the phrase, “it’s never too late” and I sometimes wonder if that’s true. But you are clearly a testimony to that. Congratulations on your B.S!

      And your mortgage as well! All your hard work has paid off.

      Happpy MLK day! I love quiet mornings too! And Thank God for your friend! I’m happy she’s clean! I wish nothing but positive and good health surrounding her life and yours!

  • Hanna

    Hi, this was probably the most powerful exercise for me and a great finale to this 14-day challenge.

    The two mistakes I chose were about two very destructive relationships I have had in the past with two manipulative, drug using, violent, charismatic, interesting, intelligent guys with troubled childhoods.

    I lost a lot in a material sense, and also in terms of relationships with others. I learnt the importance of going after what i need and want the hard way. I almost destroyed myself in this process. Out of this I went to university, and did a lot of study on positive thinking and psychology. I have trained to be a yoga teacher, have got to know myself, and have much better relationships with my lived ones.

    I am who I am now because of these traumatic mistakes. I am no longer self destructive. I have now been single for 4 years to allow time to heal and get to know myself.
    Thanks Celes and everyone else who have done and posted about these challenges.

    • Bette

      Hanna, I am grateful for this post, and for your realizations from your mistakes. I relate to your experience in some ways, and I am grateful that today you have a beautiful, meaningful life. You have worked hard and you deserve the best life can offer!

      I am reminded of how profound it is when i realize my mistakes, take back my power, and just take it one step at a time to achieve my goals and have true meaning and awareness and self-respect in my life.

      What you did as a result of your losses is inspiring. May your life just become ever more filled with joy and meaningful fulfillment!

    • Kiki Maria Valera

      If only more people realized you don’t need to be in a relationship to define you. Bravo to you Hanna. ^_^ your post is really inspiring

  • Bette

    Karin, I like the way your blog is set up, and I found your entry for today’s topic very well-written and clear in the points that you made.

    Congrats on your blog and your headstand and for your openness and self-confidence that made both possible!

    May you continue to travel your path with self-compassion and knowing that you are way good enough for any of your heartfelt endeavors!

    Continued success, and fulfillment with your “Random Thoughts and Musings.” What a great title!

    May you enjoy both your “work time” and your “down” time, and continue to be inspired by your self-confidence and inner knowingness as you proceed in the direction of your dreams.

    • http://www.yogaashram25.blogspot.com/ Karin

      Hi Bette

      Thank you for your inspiring words…and may you also find blessings in your life and have a beautiful journey of self-discovery…:)

  • Annamarika

    The mistakes I’m grateful are my burn outs (yep, there are more than one) and

    I think my burn outs as mistakes as the reason for them was that I was doing so many things it was as if I was living life of three people and at the and of the day, I’m just one person. Now, I work a lot and hard but I don’t overdo it. I think I had to have three big burn outs before I got it. I’m a strong believer of life teaching you a lesson over and over again until you are ready to learn. I’ve learned and I’m grateful for that.

    I used to think it was a mistake to go to the university and waste years of my life to study to be a teacher. But really, it wasn’t. Maybe it wasn’t a strong passion of mine, but so what! I now have a great education. I have skills and knowledge that many people in my current field don’t have. I also have excellent knowledge about effective studying whenever I want to learn something new. And as I’ve gone further with my “real” passion (theatre), I’ve discovered it’s not just something I want to do but somenthing I want to share as well. …in comes training services and teaching :) I have all the tools I could ever wish for my professional life!

    Three things to be grateful today:

    1. I finally managed to make a schedule for my internship. I have been procrastinating about it but now it’s done. Go me :)
    2. My daughter keeps me active and motivated to learn new things simply because it’s interesting. This morning she asked me: “Mum, what exactly is the sky?” Tomorrow will be the day to go to the libary together to figure out, what it is. Exactly.
    3. I was able to help my friend today just by chatting with her for a while. She just messaged me she is feeling a lot better. She is an important friend in my life and has given me a lot of insight and really made me a better person. I’m happy I too can help her feel better about her life.

    + I’m grateful I was struggling to find two mistakes from my past. I’ve started to look at my life differently and now, as I look back, I don’t see mistakes but life as it is.

    • Bette

      “I’m a strong believer of life teaching you a lesson over and over again until you are ready to learn.”

      Annamarika,
      Thank you for your post.
      And for the above line that you wrote about life lessons. I have repeated over and over what seems like the same thing, but there are always many new insights to see and new levels of awareness to reach.

      Congrats on having a great education and knowledge about effective studying. How very fortunate to have all that under your belt! And your interest (passion) in theater and wanting to share that does sound very intriguing.
      Best to you with that and everything!

    • Kiki Maria Valera

      I like the ending. You don’t see your mistakes as none other than life! Its interesting that you mentioned burn outs. I immediately started thinking about a friend of mine, several people, one thing I noticed in college is that people like to bombard themselves with so many task. It looks good on your resume, but they literally stretching themselves thin, risking their academic and health performance. I’m glad you realized this and even admitted. Nothing wrong with going easy on yourself :). as long as you’re passionate about what you do.

  • blessedart

    Daily Journaling: Write 3 Things You Are Grateful for Today

    1. Handling important business.

    2. Wholesome fun and a good laugh.

    3. A heart to give and being provided the resources to do it.

  • blessedart

    Sorry I made a “MISTAKE” not copying all of my post;=) however this is my full post your reading now…I’m glad I realized that mistake and corrected it. Such an awesome way to learn;=)

    In the past I’ve made several mistakes while trying to see where I fit in with my different talents…at least that’s what a kind friend had me thinking for a moment. Because I allowed myself to agree with that way of thinking I came to a place where I wouldn’t make any decisions in that area because I feared that I would make a mistake. Fortunately I quickly realized those past choices were not mistakes at all, but stepping-stones and doors of opportunity that gave me the chance to see where I didn’t want to be or want to be doing. I am so happy for those eye-opening experiences. I’m still not 100% sure how I will implement my talents but I thank God that I have the confidence to make “mistakes” while figuring it out;=)

    Daily Journaling: Write 3 Things You Are Grateful for Today

    1. Handling important business.

    2. Wholesome fun and a good laugh.

    3. A heart to give and being provided the resources to do it.

    • Bette

      “I quickly realized those past choices were not mistakes at all, but stepping-stones and doors of opportunity that gave me the chance to see where I didn’t want to be or want to be doing.”

      blessedart, thank you for realizing this and putting it into words for this post.
      It is heartwarming to realize that there are others out there that have insight and are positive and grateful for the “eye-opening experiences.”

      Glad you are making choices and seeing them as stepping stones and not avoiding making choices for fear of making a mistake. That kind of thinking is helpful for me to hear and know, again, that I really am not so different from others. Or alone in my thinking and experiences. We are all connected in many, many ways!

      • blessedart

        Hi Bette,
        I’m so glad my truths could help remind you that you are not in it alone. I absolutely agree Bette “We are all connected in many, many ways!

        Thanks for commenting;=)

  • BETTE

    TWO BIG MISTAKES AND WHAT I LEARNED

    I made a BIG mistake when I quickly bought a house on impulse and, as a result, there were devastating financial consequences.
    I learned:
    1. TAKE MY TIME!…
    Don’t act on such impulse out of any fears or on any big financial decision. Or any big decision!

    2 Above all, FOLLOW MY INTUITION!
    I KNEW it wasn’t “my house”…I was led out of what I felt was necessity, and out of listening to my friend over my inner-knowing.

    3. SEE AND CONSIDER ALL OTHER OPTIONS!
    If I feel like “this is the only thing that will work”…be open to explore other possibilities and THEN make a choice. Otherwise the possibility field is too narrow.

    I made another BIG mistake when I gave my power over to a so-called “investment adviser,” who was really a scheming, selfish stockbroker who misled me, leading to more devastating financial consequences.
    I learned:
    1. Again…TRUST MY INTUITION AND FOLLOW IT THROUGH!

    I KNEW when to withdraw $ and I allowed it to stay in the stockbroker’s hands….

    2. TREASURE MY INNER POWER AND KEEP IT CLOSE.
    Many times in my life I have given away my power, and it is costly in many ways, and on many levels.

    3. MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING!
    Yes, truly, it isn’t. I have learned more about non-attachment. Non-attachment to money and non-attachment to THINGS.. STUFF. Hey…I have a lonnng way to go with this one…in SOOO many ways…but I am closer to respecting the value of the dollar, and the value of things, but being aware that you cannot take it with you and it is just matter. I’m learning more about appreciating and honoring and valuing things and money that pays for the necessities, but not be attached. Also, there are SO many feelings, relationships, experiences, and exchanges that are priceless….they are endearing, heartwarming, enduring and p r e c i o u s!!!

    GRATEFUL FOR TODAY
    1. I am so grateful for dear friends. Friends who feel deeply and love unconditionally.
    2. I am so grateful for everyone who has put their heart and soul into this challenge and their posts, and who have been living on a conscious level as they move forward on their unique and beautiful journey of discovery and soul fulfillment.
    3. I am so grateful for my life and that I am willing to love myself unconditionally through the thick and thin, and through the challenges life poses. Whatever the curve ball exposes for me to see, to work on, to grow as a result of, I can find SOME reason to be grateful that I have THAT particular thing or person presented to me to move through to the next level.

    COLOR ME GRATEFUL

  • Kiki Maria Valera

    There are a couple mistakes I can name at the top of my head. However, I find these particular “error of judgment” moments I have committed in my life recently to be, ahem, life changing. Or at least, what I consider to change my outlook on life. Also, I’ll mention one more I feel has personally impacted me, but not a mistake I made, but one that has influenced my life forever. I know I’m going over the limit, but I really enjoy this exercise.

    1. My ex-boyfriend. He was my first. We both got involved in a relationship that probably wasn’t meant to happen or happened too fast. I allowed myself to get caught up, and didn’t heed the warnings signs even though my instinct was telling me to slow down. And once we got involved intimately, those red flags were telling me to stop. To this day, I don’t know what kind of relationship we had. It gets a little complicated, but I’ll end it with this: Friendship first before anything. Whether our relationship was true, or not. All I know was I left feeling disappointed more at myself than the actual relationship ending. Yet, despite the end of a relationship I did learn these valuable things:
    - All good things are worth waiting for.
    - Listen to your gut
    - I have a better idea of what i’m looking for in a mate
    - Friendship, being comfortable is more important than meeting/pleasing the needs of someone else
    - Stick to your guns
    - Opposites attract is a LIE. If they don’t share more or less your same values, ideas, morals(even if they say they “respect” it) it’s a sign of incompatibility.
    - Oh! and before entering a relationship..make sure to bring up these things..like what you believe in, what you dislike and what you’re looking for before you have sex, okay? Make sure you’re compatible

    because of my experiences, I am able to relate to women who have been in my predicament more. So, yes, I did have an error of judgement, but I can now relate to other girls who have been in my shoes, and give them sound advice from a common ground as oppose to guesses and biases.
    Also, it was nice to care or even love someone. Out of all the mistakes we made, I wish it would have been different. But, it made me look forward to loving that one person, whoever it may be. Being in a healthy, committed, loving, loyal relationship. When it’s time of course.

    2. Hate/ bitter and anger towards a relative. I drove someone away because of my anger towards that person. Even though he asked me for forgiveness, I declined his request by letting my anger take control. I was rude; I ignored, and neglected him, and I completely disowned his from the family. Now we barely talk to each other, and he’s far away. This is a mistake that I continue to make, and still have a lot of difficulty with. Although, this person is half way across the country, I know it’s something I must deal with once he is back in the picture. I don’t know how because I blame him a lot for my misfortunes in life. I ask myself how can I possibly be grateful for this mistake? This mistake that I carry like a thorn in my chest. Almost like a murder, or sin I committed.

    - It has made me more self aware of myself. Since I am an individual who wants to grow, and better myself as person. I knew that even though I might appear as cheerful, or bubbly, deep down inside, this deep seeded anger was boiling up in me. And I didn’t want to be like my family members, short fuse and explosive. I didn’t want to be like those ticking time bombs that set off according to the right circumstances.

    - I realized that forgiveness is not for the other person but yourself. I’m stilling trying to grasp this. I still feel like I’m condoning the behavior of this person. Like anytime I say I forgive this person, I am loosing the risk of hurting him as he has hurt me. It’s a process.

    - Made me more aware of the men I date and choose. I realized how much my ex resembled this person.

    - Lastly, inspires me to get involved. Before, it was to get away, but now I want to do everything I can to be a better person. And one of the best ways is to get involved in events, organizations or things that are bigger than yourself. That get you out of your self pity and bring you back to the physical world. Living for today and tomorrow and not looking back.

    - The past is the past.

    I know this is very long, but this post touched me. I was going to put the last mistake, but I think I’ll save that for the last post. I wrote so much already.

    WHAT AM I GRATEFUL FOR

    1. Being apart of this challenge!
    I don’t know about you guys but I love rainy days! I felt at ease and relaxed while sleeping in my bed. I was able to catch up with the challenge on time! Also, reading these post is really inspiring and I can only hope this challenge has impact you as much as it has on me! Personal excellence rocks!

    2. Staying home all day!
    Pretty self-explanatory! Plus going to the gym today hopefully. To get my work out on

    3. The weekend. OH! and getting my hair done tomorrow! So excited for the weekend and just seeing what this autumn has in store. I love fall weather!

    AND OF COURSE PAY DAY FRIDAY! woohoo

    • Bette

      Kiki, I find your post is very heartfelt and filled with a growing awareness.
      Thank you for posting this. I am still learning about forgiveness too…
      To be grateful for the opportunity to develop compassion through forgiveness instead of getting caught up in anger or bitterness or vengeful thinking.

      Also, it is r e a l l y important for me to remember, always, to trust my gut feelings. Honoring my intuition is, without a doubt, the way to go, no doubt about it! It has cost me dearly, on many levels, to give away my power.

      I join you in the wisdom, “TRUST THYSELF.”

      I am sorry that you had to go through a challenging break-up, but I am grateful that you have received many insight going forward.

      All the best!

  • Derrick R Kearney

    There have only been two things in my life I would change,
    with each being critical points in time that have shaped me into the person I
    am today. My two mistakes if you will
    for purposes of this exercise. The first
    one is that I let myself get too much into “the party” during my younger days.
    My last two years of college for example were a blur of late nights and intoxication
    that ended in me leaving school without a degree but instead just a large
    bill. This behavior continued for some
    time leading to an eventual financial bankruptcy filed and in some ways worse.
    My life was going nowhere at the time I was offered my current job, which I
    would if anyone be to blame for happening.
    With that said though I did learn a few important lessons because of
    this. I picked up a drive inside to overcome the current lot in life and strive
    for more. I now have a job that many
    workers wish they could find, and one that I thought would be above my skill
    level. I appreciate what things I have
    accomplished and am grateful for the decisions I make these days that are in
    the right direction. When I choose to
    “be good” and sleep for work instead of party each night I am a better person I
    think afterwards. I have grown because
    of this a true joy in being able to say that I can support myself and do the
    things I want to do along with taking care of needs. Lastly I have gained
    lifelong friends out of my experiences. This
    past month I had the chance to reunite with a lot of my college friends for a
    weekend. I was shocked to see how many lives I had touched enough to where they
    would want to spend time with me on our old stomping grounds. I also get
    messages often from other old friends from my younger days asking when I plan
    to visit them. We are all older now and
    not into the same things, but it is nice to know that the world grew up with me
    instead of leaving me behind.

    The second mistake is one a bit more recent, happening now
    almost three years ago. At the time I
    was married and had a major disagreement with my wife about how things should
    go in our lives. She put up an ultimatum for me to change, and I instead let
    her leave. Though I will defend not giving in to her threats and demands
    forever, I still should not have allowed the marriage to simply dissolve
    without putting up any fight. At the time I felt very hurt though by her lack
    of compassion and loyalty towards me during what was a rough moment of my life.
    I learned a great deal in this breakup as it was a chance to start over. I was able to find out the things that I
    maybe first off shouldn’t do in a relationship and also what characteristics I
    would want in a true life mate. I also discovered that I wasn’t alone in the
    world no matter how lonely I became. I was able to develop a new outlet for my
    pain, which became a source of inspiration and hope for those around me. It is amazing how many people end
    relationships within their lives as I found out when it seemed that each of my
    friends was getting a divorce along side or after mine. We were all in pain and having a way to numb
    that for not only myself but for others truly was a lifesaver. Lastly I discovered my own sense of self
    worth again. It is difficult when you
    hear that you are a monster to not believe it after so many times. I spent weeks suffering from verbal abuse in
    various degrees until I felt beat up. I
    was left behind by people I had trust in my life discovering they were never
    true friends. Through everything I have
    managed to put back together my life and enjoy myself again.

    3 things Grateful for Today

    -
    Last night the station ordered pizza for those
    working. I had to leave anyway and did not know about the order, so I stopped
    for lunch somewhere else. I was able to because of the surplus left behind take
    some home and had it this morning for breakfast. It was nice to start off the day with a full
    belly and a few extra bucks from not having to buy food.

    -
    I took a peak at the next schedule for my part
    time job. Unlike my full time where
    schedules are done up to a year in advance, the part time one does them weekly
    coming out usually three days before the work week begins. It is difficult to plan for things with
    little notice. I have a couple of friends planning visits to town with one
    being for a few days, and it would be nice to clear out some time to spend with
    them. I was happy to see a few days off
    the calendar there. Though working and
    extra money are cool, money doesn’t buy everything and especially doesn’t
    replace rest or time with friends.

    -
    I started a mini-art project at home that required
    the use of colored pencils. When I grabbed the cup that I keep the pencils in,
    I discovered a spare key for my truck inside. This is a big deal for me since
    my old key broke inside the ignition switch.
    I have been worried about theft for weeks, but also unable to unlock the
    door as normal. Now with the spare key found I should be able to take out the
    old bit from the switch and use this spare key full time, saving me a good bit
    of money.

    • Bette

      Derrick,
      I wish for you true friends, health, prosperity, and the time to enjoy all the above.
      I do relate to some things you have written about. I am glad that you are making good decisions and moving in the right direction. I hope for the same in my life. I LOVE the feeling of moving in the right direction! How do I know this? Because it feels really yucky to be moving in the wrong direction, or not really moving at all (in a standstill…ugh!)
      Thank you for your honesty and for posting this.
      Continued success and fulfillment for you in your journey!

      • Derrick R Kearney

        Thank you Bette!

  • Melody

    Mistake #1 – Speaking harshly or rashly…I’ve done this mistakenly to the wrong people at the wrong time. It usually results in the person being offended and sometimes I’m able to apologize with a healing result but not always. This is something I have to continue working on and it really is a blessing in disguise because it keeps me on my toes.

    Mistake #2 – Being overly critical – Depending on who I’m around, I can be very critical…in a negative way. I don’t like that because it usually makes me feel truly awful inside. (For example, “Why did I ever even say that?!”) I’ve learned that there may be extenuating circumstances surrounding that person to make them choose the path they did. I’ve learned to take that into consideration before being overly critical. I think I’m doing better as I gain years. I hope I am. :) I’ll keep working on it. There’s always room for improvement.
    The three things I’m thankful for today are: 1) ebooks-nothing like winding down at the end of a long day with an ebook; 2) my loose leaf green tea that I drink every night; and 3) my Savior without whom I would’ve been dead a long time ago.

    Thank you for putting the opportunity to create a gratitude journal out on the web. It really has been a good thing for me and I have really enjoyed it!

  • Spešl Pavrs

    If I look at mistakes like something I “felt bad over them at some point in time–perhaps at the very point when the mistakes were incurred”, than I realize I am doing mistakes on daily basis :) Everyday there is something I do or think and than doubt about it (wish I would do it differently or would not do it at all). This small, tiny mistakes are: not getting up early enough, when rain catches me on my bike cause I did not pick the right time to go out, salting soup too much, forgeting to buy something in grocery store, … Those are really tiny mistakes, but they still are – I take them for granted! Today I realized that is a mistake to see this kind of stuff as a mistake :) Cause I am being nothing else but too critical and sharp to myself, I do not love myself in that very moment when a thought “I should not do that” (and that equals “I am not good enough”) goes through my mind. It is a mistake to take those kind of thoughts for granted. So I guess this mistake is teaching me to love myself, to find a strenght and follow my intuition (there are lots of times when I truly think I should do something but I dont do it and than I beat myself up over not doing it), to transform an un-grateful though into grateful one.

    The second mistake would be: back in college I did not wanted to participate in some kind of out-of-school activities when my schoolmate invited me. This mistake thought me: if I feel the resistance towards something, ask myself “is this truly what I want/ do not want?” and give myself an honest answer. Go out of my comfort zone, I have nothing to loose, I am safe.
    It would be much easier to count the things I did not achieve or did not get (more friends) or missed (opportunities) because of this second mistake (or any other mistake). But how can I know for sure what have I missed cause of my mistakes? How can I know for sure that I am not in a better place right now cause of my mistakes? I can not, I would be only assuming and predicting! When identifying things I gained from each mistake, I focus on things I actually gained (I have them, they are a part of me, no one can take that away from me). When identifying things I gained from each mistake, I am not assuming and thinking about something that did not happen yet. And that is gratitude all about: it is about things that already exist.

    ——————————————–

    On day 14 of gratitude challenge, I was grateful for:

    - making an appointment at the dentist,
    - insights about mistakes and a different attitude towards them,
    - this challenge.

    • Bette

      Spesl, your post is helpful for me in many ways…plus I really enjoy the way you express yourself and the way you think things through…

      “how can I know for sure what have I missed cause of my mistakes? How can I know for sure that I am not in a better place right now cause of my mistakes?”

      Your questions are thought-provoking, and I appreciate your writing this !

      “this mistake is teaching me to love myself, to find a strength and follow my intuition” is really speaking to me right now…thank you! More reminders to trust my intuition!

  • http://wikitalks.com/ Maria G.

    I happened to read your article and I believe I did it not by chance :) I’d like to answer your question about things I am grateful for. Well, to be honest I’m grateful for the chance to participate in this and to learn how to become better and transform my life. That’s certainly a blessing for me. I never say never and I appreciate people, who give other people second chances, and also I believe and that’s the main point. I believe we can all be grateful for life and every day. Every day is a holiday – that’s what I’m always saying ;)

  • steve werner

    Learning by mistakes has been my entire life.
    If you are not making mistakes/failing you are not trying hard enough.

    Throw in the gratitude equation- Now I really feel blessed.

    Sw

  • http://hackmyheart.com/ Calae

    I’m temporarily “skipping” day 13 with the meditation. I haven’t been able to focus enough to complete the meditation, so I’m saving it for later.

    Let’s see, two mistakes…

    1. I told my mom some details about the life of one of my friends, when I really should’ve kept it to myself in confidence. I have an automatic response to talk to my mom as she’s quite gossipy (I’m getting better at catching myself from feeding into it, but I don’t always). My friend was super upset with me because obviously it wasn’t my life to talk about, nor do I know the possible consequences of sharing what I did.

    –I’ve learned there’s consequences to every action, even something as simple as “gossip”
    –I’ve learned to more carefully monitor what I say, and not speak assuming that what I say won’t come around again in some way.
    –I’ve learned that just because you might make someone angry, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the end of the world/that relationship. Forgiveness is a distinct possibility — provided you’re genuinely sorry and learn from your mistake, of course.

    2. I tried to help someone “fix” themselves when there wasn’t anything wrong with them. I was convinced that they didn’t think much of themselves and so I tried to convince them against thinking that way — while perhaps they don’t think much of themselves, I shouldn’t try and force anything on them that they don’t want to hear.

    –I learned that you can’t really know someone’s whole story. What may come across as a flaw to you might not seem to be the case for someone else.

    –Sometimes, what you notice that’s “wrong” in others, is really saying something about what you think of yourself.
    –Sometimes the best way to help someone is to just listen, and offer advice if they ask for it, but otherwise let them solve things on their own accord.

    While I’ve learned much from these mistakes, I still consider them mistakes. Especially the first — I feel like this is something that can really come back and bite me in the butt later. I hate that I can’t do anything to take back or fix the situation, other than hope that perhaps my mom won’t remember what I said or she remembers it incorrectly. The second feels less terrible, as my friend knows I meant well and I apologized for it. I’m still a bit embarrassed of how I acted, but overall there’s no harm here.

    Three things I was thankful for two days ago:

    1. I arrived to campus without a jacket or raincoat, and got soaked when it unexpectedly began to rain. I had one friend give me a jacket to borrow for the day, and another gave me a dry t-shirt and a hair tie to change into/keep my frizzy hair at bay. I was SO thankful I didn’t have to spend the whole day being soaked (I was quite literally dripping wet, as if I’d stepped into a shower!)
    2. I got new shoes (which fit!) in the mail.
    3. I got my new water bottle along with a care package from my mom. So excited!

  • Suzanne McClendon

    I still need to do Days 8, 9, 10, and 13, plus the reflection post. Here is Day 14.

  • Jeanne Floresca

    I’m going straight to the last section as I don’t view things as mistakes- I
    see all things as “for my benefit” even if it is seems “shitty” (for a
    lack of a better word) during the time. For example, you thought to make
    a right, but for some reason you made a left. The left turn made you
    late for work, but it also brought you to bump into a good friend. So
    was it a “mistake” to turn left? This is an arbitrary example because
    this perspective can be applied to any situation.

    For the challenge sake, I admit to making tons of mistakes. Bundles.
    Did I learn lessons? Hell yeah. Loads. For the life of me, I can’t think
    of them, or pinpoint exactly why they were so important then or now. I
    learn and move on. I do not reflect much on what I did on the past. I
    use to. That was a dark period- constantly living in the past- feeling
    sorry, guilty, and forlorn. Now I just say, “fuck it” and “how is this
    for my benefit.” Once you start asking better questions and drop the “F”
    bomb a few times, the lessons come easier and your perspective shifts-
    no mistakes, just what IS.

    Wait for it… now I remember one. Don’t send emails in anger and haste. That was a good lesson. Don’t do that again Jeanne =) – See more at: http://inspirehappy.com/2013/09/01/gratitude-journal-challenge-days-13-14/#sthash.uaNwUeb1.dpuf

  • Vinay Kumar

    So here this comes, after a long break. Finally getting around to day 14:

    Mistakes and learnings:
    I wasn’t assertive earlier and a few people, people I considered good, and people whom I still respect a lot may’ve taken advantage of it. Everytime I would go out of my way, and I would do it out of obligation but not because I wanted to, I would feel bad. It built onto a point where the only way I saw was to cut-off ties with such people. However, after repeated such experiences I’ve reached a stage where I’ve become much more assertive about what I want. My earlier way of being has also left in me a certain sense of humility. I think the earlier me + these new learnings have made into a better person. I still have trouble saying no to many near and dear ones, when they ask me to do things I won’t be too interested in doing. However, I can see my journey and I feel proud about it :). There’s still space to grow, and that’s nice.

    My second mistake was a slip up in a project. Whenever I get a big project(which requires a few months work), I tend to procrastinate and start really late. This has happened repeatedly. I would end up doing the work in maybe one-third the time allotted, by really slogging. The quality of the work too suffers. This again happened a few months earlier. I got a project on which I’d to start working from last December. However, I didn’t start on it until February(when the project had to be actually finished by mid-Feb). The project then finally got completed by mid-march. I finished it in around 40 days, when the actual time allotted was 75 days. I still ended up finishing it a month late. I’ve realized that I somehow do not feel like starting on something new, where a lot of learning is involved. I do start when the pressure is high and I can procrastinate no more. Once I start working on it, I realize I really enjoy it. For my next project now I’ve decided I wouldn’t repeat this mistake. I would be more proactive. I’ll start even if I don’t feel like it, because I know that I enjoy the ride once I get on the train. I generally procrastinate thinking I’ll do complete research before beginning. I initially aim for the highest of the quality. However the act of delaying the start(under the veil of a quality vision) in fact makes the final product shabby and poor in quality. That’s something I don’t want to be associated with. For all the smaller projects I do, I’m known for the high quality I deliver. It’s only for these bigger projects that I struggle. I probably would need to break the bigger project into smaller goals, and make myself accountable to staying on track. Laxity hasn’t done me good till now.

    3 things I’m grateful for:

    - I’d been to a small trip to this beautiful town called Pondicherry. I’m grateful to the extremely nice people we met there. The caretakers of our home-stay offered great service. The people of Pondicherry were very helpful, many a times going out of their way to help strangers.

    - I watched a wonderful play yesterday. The standards they set for group work and prop-usage was a lesson.

    - I played foosball tournament at my office, and came runners-up. The learnings of the past few months in playing that game have helped a lot. The tips my partner gave for the matches too were very useful. I’m grateful to the game for taking me into calm meditative zones when I play it.

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Gratitude Challenge Day 13: Do a Gratitude Meditation

This is Day 13 of the 14-Day Gratitude Challenge where hundreds of participants around the world gathered to practice gratitude for 14 days. This...

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