“a life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.“
– george bernard shaw
the above quote has so many layers to it, i don’t know where to begin.
well, first of all it says that making mistakes is not only perfectly acceptable, it’s beneficial. i don’t doubt that for a moment. personal experience is the best teacher anyone can get, plus it gives you the credibility to tell people about what life has taught you. what’s important about making mistakes is that you don’t commit the same one again, or else it wouldn’t be honourable anymore; it would be plain stupid.
secondly, shaw has implied that it takes courage to make mistakes. although i feel courage has less to do with it than pure thoughtlessness, i guess it does require a certain level of faith to go out and let life bombard you with challenges that will cause you to fall, just so you can pick yourself up afterwards.
thirdly, it says that it is much better to make mistakes than to live life without doing anything significant.
here’s where i’m torn. on one hand, i strongly believe that it’s better – no, make that smarter – to learn from others’ mistakes than go out and live your own. who in their right mind would go step into a hole after watching someone else fall right in earlier? only an idiot would.
on the other hand, to not make mistakes and keep living life by relying on the experiences of others would be a waste of oxygen. what is life without taking a few chances?
although my attitude of staying on the safe path has prevented me from making alot of the mistakes my friends have, it has also built in me a morbid fear of taking risks.
perhaps i am reminded of the last time i took a real gamble…and lost. my two years in singapore were, on hindsight, the best years of my life. however, the decision to stay cost me a chance to experience a different culture and emerge with an internationally recognised degree. it also hurt much more than i thought it would, so much so that i can’t even think about it without becoming angry, sad and bitter.
it was possibly the first time i had to make a choice that would determine the course of my life, and i still struggle to deal with the fact that i ended up with the shorter end of things. if this really is a blessing in disguise, then it’s a damn good disguise because i need more convincing that God has a greater plan for all this.
can you blame me for wanting to stay on the sidelines? can you really?
as terrified as i am of making another mistake, i am just as terrified of spending the remaining years of my life continuously traumatised by this one setback. i am determined to see the bright side of things and persevere to accomplish my dreams, but i am also afraid of taking another chance. my own faith can only go so far and, as much as i trust God, it is still very very scary to hand it all to Him.
a life spent making mistakes may be more honourable and useful than a life spent doing nothing, but it is also far more painful…especially when it’s a life where no one but an entity that exists purely by faith can be your true companion.