Learning From Others’ Mistakes

I have a confession to make.  Ready for it?   Ok, here goes….

I'm not perfect.

I have in fact made mistakes (hundreds, thousands, I would venture to say tens of thousands) during the course of my thirty years on the Earth.  Though I wish I could say that I learned from all of the mistakes, that statement wouldn't be accurate.

The lessons that I have learned have helped me gain wisdom in some areas of life and in many cases, I have passed these lessons on to others. 

Not only have I attempted to help others learn from my mistakes, but I have taken the opportunity to learn from mistakes that I have either seen other people make or that they have told me about.

I figure that it makes no sense for me to walk down the same path as someone else if I know that it will lead to the same negative results.

During my time in college, I always had mentors and counselors who had walked the same path a few years ahead of me.

These people warned me about certain classes, which teachers I should avoid, and even about which residence halls (dorms) to avoid.

When my wife and I were dating, we spent lots of our  time with couples who were already married and had been successfully married for nearly a decade or more.

We listened to their struggles and their success and determined that we would not make lots of the same mistakes.  Since they had already told us about the paths that led them to the mistakes, we were able to avoid many of those errors in marriage.

The same thing happened in parenting.  When we became parents, we found people who had made mistakes, but had overcome the mistakes to raise great kids or adults.

Now that we have more kids than the average couple, we still ask couples who have larger families about their mistakes and try to avoid them as well.

So, what's the point?  By no means do I believe we can simply let other people make all of the mistakes and then we sit by and coast through a perfect life.  But, I believe we don't have to make as many mistakes if we get wisdom from people who have gone before us.

Do we have a perfect marriage? No.  Are we perfect parents? No.  Well, there may be something that you can learn from our mistakes to prevent some mistakes on your own.  There is something we all can learn from mistakes — our own and those of others.  It's a lifelong process.

Question:  What are some lessons you have learned from observing or talking to other people that have helped you avoid mistakes in your life?