A wise man once told me, “It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong and there aren’t a lot of big men in this world.” Those moments when I was wrong are what I am most grateful for. Those are the moments that truly challenged me. Those are the moments where I was humbled and learned my most valuable lessons. Those are the moments that taught me accountability and humility. And those are the moments that helped me determine the type of man I wanted to be – but that took time.
For the better portion of my life, I embraced the notion that my shortcomings were everyone’s fault but my own. If I tripped, it was because someone pushed me. I had no sense of responsibility or self-accountability. Why would I when it was so easy to blame others?
This mindset will swallow you like quicksand if you let it. Taking the easy way out is what comes instinctually to us as humans and it takes a conscious effort to fight it. Our instinct is to take the path of least resistance.
It is not easy to admit when we are wrong which is why we typically avoid it. We live in such a competitive world that we assume being wrong is a weakness when in fact it’s the exact opposite. Being wrong provides us with a valuable opportunity to learn. Being wrong means at least having the courage to try. Being wrong also helps us determine how dedicated we are. It provides an opportunity to reset yourself and adjust our bearings to try again the right way – but only if we are willing to embrace our fallibility.
I wish I could tell you that admitting our mistakes gets easier with time, but it doesn’t. However, it does become more natural. With time we begin to develop a sense of pride in our ability to identify when we are wrong. It makes us stronger. It doesn’t get easier but it becomes less intimidating and if you embrace it as an opportunity to learn, it can help us grow exponentially.
Taking responsibility for our own actions is what shows the world it can rely on us to change, or to try harder. Life isn’t about getting everything right on the first try. Without failure and mistakes along the way, reaching success is less enjoyable.
Remember, it’s not a matter of if we fail but when. It’s inevitable that we will take a wrong turn or fall short at some point in our lives. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes it’s completely out of our control. But even in those moments that fate took it’s course – only we can decide when we go from there.
Timothy A. Natale
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