Gratitude Challenge Day 14: Give Thanks for Your Mistakes

This is Day 14 of the 14-Day Gratitude Challenge held in Aug 2013, where we practice gratitude for 14 days. The challenge is now over but you can do the tasks in your own time. Visit the overview page for all the challenge tasks.

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 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.
  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 and Next Steps!

(Images: Gratitude, Broken branch