“A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences.” – Dennis Waitley                   

A few years ago, I facilitated an 8-hour class called “Checks and Balances” for people that had criminal complaints against them for writing bad checks. In order to avoid criminal prosecution, the District Attorney made participation in the class mandatory. The class was designed to assist them in getting their checkbook and their lives back in balance and for three Saturdays per month, I’d provide the instructions on how to do just that for about 45 students. Although the class examined the various financial situations that led them to bad check writing, it also provided insight into other areas of their lives.  Usually, they would arrive mad and with a bad attitude, but they left differently. The majority of the students left with a greater sense of personal responsibility because of their willingness to learn the LESSONS FROM THEIR MISTAKES. These students weren’t bad people, they simply made a mistake.  As I reminisced about this experience, it reminded me that if we are open and willing, we can ALWAYS learn from our mistakes.  In actuality, if we are open and willing, we can learn a lot about ourselves from our mistakes.  Have you learned the lessons from your mistakes?  I KNOW I have!!!  So for this week’s blog, let’s talk SHIP about learning the LESSONS FROM OUR MISTAKES!!!

We’ve all heard the phrase, “when we know better, we do better” and I believe it’s true but only IF we are willing to learn FROM OUR MISTAKES.   During the check-writing class, I’d lead an exercise called “The Cycle of Growth.”   It emphasized the importance of the power available to us when making choices.  It explained that…. awareness leads to choices. Choices lead to freedom. Freedom then leads to responsibility. Responsibility then leads back to awareness.  Hence, the Cycle of Growth. It makes sense because if we are aware of a situation, we can assess our choices. We have the freedom to choose, whether right or wrong but we have the freedom to make a choice. Yet, after making a choice, we must then be willing to accept the responsibilities and consequences of that choice which means that responsibility leads back to awareness and the cycle will continue to repeat itself with every choice and decision.  The Cycle of Growth holds us accountable for our choices and decisions. At some point in our lives, we’ve all made poor choices, decisions, and mistakes but we can always bounce back better if we adhere to the LESSONS LEARNED FROM OUR MISTAKES.

Mistakes are inevitable but it is how we respond to those mistakes that matters. The biggest milestone in our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth is the development and cultivation of personal responsibility.  Our ability to accept the consequences of the choices and mistakes we make defines our character. Last week as the news focused on the mistake made by the 21-year old American sprinter, Sha’Carri Richardson when she tested positive for marijuana, we watched as she defined her character. Even though she was no longer being considered to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, she owned up to her mistake. She accepted personal responsibility. After learning from a reporter that her biological mother unexpectedly passed away while she was in Oregon at the Olympic trials, she was devastated and smoked some weed to cope. She simply made a mistake. With her admission, she knew that everything she had worked so hard for, trained so hard for was now in jeopardy because of a poor decision, a mistake that she’d made.  Despite our thoughts on the decision made by the Olympic committee, or whether the rules of weed should be relaxed in sports, Sha’Carri made a mistake and is now accepting its consequences.  She never denied her actions.  Instead, she defined her character when she publicly expressed her disappointment in herself and apologized to her family, fans, and sponsors. Which is evidence that she has learned the LESSONS FROM HER MISTAKE.  

Like Sha’Carri we can’t be a victim, we have to admit and acknowledge our mistakes. We can’t blame the direction of our lives or our mistakes on our parents, a failed relationSHIP, or a dysfunctional upbringing.  That responsibility falls on us and is rooted in the choices that led up to our poor decision or mistake. We don’t have to be victims of our past mistakes, all we have to do is forgive ourselves and be willing to learn the LESSONS FROM OUR MISTAKES.  Lord knows I’ve made my share of mistakes but I can honestly say I’ve learned and will continue to learn the LESSONS FROM MY MISTAKES. The truth is life is filled with lessons and I’ve learned from experience that mistakes DO have the bounce-back ability. Sha’Carri Richardson will be fine, she’s already a winner because she is willing to learn the LESSONS FROM HER MISTAKE!!  Next time, she’ll make better decisions, train harder, become faster, and win more gold medals than she could ever imagine.  And we will too because life will constantly provide us with growth opportunities including the opportunity to learn LESSONS FROM OUR MISTAKES.….and once we do, we can help but win!!!

SHIP TALK:  Do you believe we can learn from our mistakes? Have you learned the LESSONS FROM YOUR MISTAKES? If so, what did you learn?

At, Whatstheship.com, we appreciate you taking the time to read our posts.  We’d love to hear your thoughts about what you’ve read, so if you like to leave a comment, please scroll to the bottom of the page.  Please share with your family and friends.


  1. Gurl, you said a mouthful and I agree. I know I am NOT perfect and too have made my share of Mistakes. But, I am a quick learner. I get the lessons and put them into action. You don’t have to tell me the stove is hot. As always, thanks for your support Angie.

  2. love this weeks topic. I am true believer that everyone can learn from their mistakes. If one is NOT learning from their mistakes, they’re not learning. Life is full of lessons to be learned, good and bad, big and small! Everyone will experience making a mistake, or several mistakes, in their lifetime. I know I have made my fair share (and will continue as long as I’m living, just less frequent). I also believe there are important things to know and understand when mistakes are made. Acknowledge the mistake, accept/take responsibility, allow yourself Grace, grow from the consequences, if any, and most of all, do your VERY best to not repeat the same mistake. What I’ve learned when I think back on various mistakes I’ve made, are the wise sayings my Mother would recite, for example; “A leopard never changes his/her spots, they just get bigger.” or “There’s no sense, like bought sense.” When I think about them and put them in perspective of my situation, I think, “Wow, wise woman!” Another saying I will ALWAYS live by, by Maya Angelou, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
    Always be thoughtful and use discernment…. and with God’s Grace, the mistakes become minimal.

  3. Thanks so much Shirley, I appreciate your support. Still working on how to grow my readerSHIP so I really do appreciate your support.

  4. Nothing but absolutely TRUTH IN THIS BLOG! One of my catch phrases has always been “It’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you react to what happens to you in life!” definitely a statement of the cycle of growth… Breaking it all down, S*”t happens, now what you gonna do? What is the lesson life is teaching you? Did you get it, will determine how you move forward, or even if you move forward! Thank you my sister for gracing us with your knowledge, experience, history

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.