Mistakes don’t define you

Mistakes dont define you

Payton Field , Public Relation's Manager

When I was 12, the word mistake was constantly and consistently used throughout my family. From the passing of my grandpa to death of my aunt, my life seemed to be a whirlwind of hardship and challenges. At that period in time, I was taught that mistakes were inadequate and that they stick with you for the rest of your life. But as I grew older and more mature, I learned that although mistakes are bad, they are an important part of learning and growing up.

About a week ago, I sat in my usual 5th hour Honors English class with Mr. Lanning. A typical class with him begins with a quick summary of his night before and how many (limited) hours of sleep he got that night. We then go into discussing the chapters of our current book and analyzing the plotline and characters. This particular day last week was no different, except, there was a distinct thing that he said that lingered in my mind and really made me contemplate myself.

“Good people can make bad decisions. Your mistakes don’t define you and all that matters is that you learn from your wrongdoings.””

— Mr. Lanning

The definition of a mistake is as follows;


  • (n) an error in action, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, or insufficient knowledge.

Nowhere in that definition does it say that a mistake will stick with you for the rest of your existence or that by making a mistake, you are automatically deemed a bad person. From Mr. Lanning and from my family’s troubles, I came to the realization that making a mistake does not make you a bad person or change who you are. Making a mistake is a learning experience and it helps us mature and expand our intelligence about our past misjudgements.

At some point in our lives, everyone has made a bad decision. Sometimes good people make bad choices. It doesn’t mean that they are bad. It means that they are human.

What I have realized over the past few years, is that people often define us by our failures and mistakes. It’s up to our own selves to make sure we don’t give up. It’s up to us to put the bad times behind us and move forward. We must show enough resilience to demonstrate to ourselves that we are better than our worst day. And although I’m sure this sounds like another typical and cliche quote, I can assure you that it has an important impact on our lives. Or at least, I know it has on mine.