Why We Make Mistakes

Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

It was cold, but I didn’t think anything of it, so after I had turned on my car, I flipped on the wipers to clean off the windshield.  One of the wipers stuck, and so I tried to move it; however, realized it wasn’t going to move, it was broken or something.  Fortunately, I was on my way to the mechanics for an oil change; therefore, they could have a look at it.  Long story short, they said I needed a whole new windshield wiper arm and it would cost me $85 ($55 parts + $30 labor), I said, “No thank you, but I’ll do it myself.”
I’m not a car guy, but I had learned many times before that I need to check all my avenues before making a decision.  Too many times I had forgone the second opinion only later to realize the fix would have been cheaper somewhere else.  So I got on the ole Youtube and saw that my problem might just be a lose screw…and that’s what it was.
Yes, I’m not a mechanic; however, even as a youth minister I’ve made plenty avoidable mistakes.  In fact we all make mistakes, even if we are deemed “PROFESSIONALS” just ask any pro athlete.  But, why do we make such simple mistakes?  Is it fate? Is it bad luck?  Maybe, but it could also be:

  • Misinformation: Sometimes we’re given bad insight or bad advice.  The way to avoid situations like this is to gather information from trusted and credible resources.  You don’t want to overwhelm yourselves with information; however, you want to make sure you aren’t filling the gaps with guessing.
  • Emotional Drive: We can be so fired up that we run off of pure adrenaline and that’s when we become a bull in a china shop.  Having emotion behind a decision can be powerful in a good way because it’ll motivate those around us.  However, if the emotion isn’t in check it can cause us to make some brash decisions.  To avoid emotionally driven decisions we need to make sure we take a step back and analyze the decision.
  • Fear: It might be a fear of letting someone down, it may be a fear of saying “No” and it could be a fear of failure.  Sometimes our inability to make decisions is due to fear; however, there are times when we make one because of it.  Like raw emotions, fear can be a positive motivator; however, if we don’t truly lean in we may not be able to find the truth.  To avoid fear from overcoming us we need to lean in knowing God is with us.
  • Pride: I’ve made decisions because I didn’t want to look wrong, I wanted to be right; therefore, the choice was forced.  This can sneak up on us because we’ll be quick to justify our decisions even though deep down inside we know it was for selfish reasons.  We could be right in our choices; however, if the heart isn’t there, it might sour the outcome.  To avoid prideful decisions we need accountability.

We all make mistakes, some larger than others and while some of them can be prevented, we need to focus on how we respond.  When you hide from your mistakes all you do is create conflict.  What we need to do is lean in, find someone to guide us back to our vision and help us reconcile with those affected.

What safeguards do you set up to avoid mistakes?