How To Learn From Your Mistakes Instead of Regretting Them

learn from your mistakes instead of regretting them
learn from your mistakes instead of regretting them
Photo from: Unsplash

I made a mistake the other day. It was a mistake that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since it happened. 

After a three-hour trip in the car, I stopped to fill up my gas tank at a random gas station on the side of the highway. I had driven three hours in the afternoon to see someone, and I planned on making the three-hour drive back home that same night.

With no cities in between my two destinations, the last thing I wanted to do was to have to stop after dark to fill up on gas. 

As I was in the gas station paying for my gas, along with a few sodas, I overheard a lady on the phone with her bank. She had said that her card kept declining and told the bank that she had just made a payment on her credit card, but needed them to expedite the payment so she could pay for her gas. 

At this point, I was more focused on her conversation than I was with the moving line of customers who were ahead of me. 

When I approached the counter, I asked the cashier how much gas she was trying to put in her car. He had told me that he didn’t know the exact amount, but believed it to be $35 or so. 

From a selfish perspective, I was really hoping that he was going to say that she was only trying to put $10 or so into her gas tank. After spending a good amount of money myself, I wasn’t really too excited at the thought of paying an additional $35 for someone. 

Instead of telling him that I would just pay for hers as well, I told him that I was going to step to the side and wait to see if her bank was going to help her out before I jumped in to pay for her gas. 

After about five minutes, she was still on the phone with her bank, and I also had to be somewhere else. So instead of just going up and telling her to not worry about paying for her gas and just paying for it myself, I walked out the door and left. 

I didn’t stick around to see if her bank had accepted her request to expedite her payment or how she was able to put gas in her card. The reasoning for not doing so? Because I had allowed my anxiety and fear of spending too much money to stop me from doing something that I should have done. 

learn from your mistakes instead of regretting them

Learn From Your Mistakes Instead of Regretting Them

You might be asking yourself why I’m sharing this story with you, and for good reason. How is this story going to bring any value to your life? 

Good question!

See, right after I drove away from the gas station, I had immediately wished I would have done things differently. I wish I would have just paid for this woman’s gas without even have second-guessing it. I wished I would have found the strength to help somebody who was obviously in need of some help. More importantly, I wished I wouldn’t have allowed my fears to win.

I don’t regret my actions because I don’t really regret anything in my life. Instead, I see it as a learning opportunity. I know that I didn’t have to pay for her gas and that it isn’t my responsibility to pay for her gas, but I feel guilty for not helping this lady out, especially when she was in need. 

Maybe she was going through far more issues in life than just not being able to pay for gas, but I will simply never know because I didn’t take the time to find out.

What I am getting at, is that when an opportunity presents itself to go out of your way and help others, jump on it. Do everything that you can do in your power to strive to make the world a better place for everyone to live in. 

Take it from me, this feeling of guilt is not an enjoyable one at all. Now since then, I have purposely gone out of my way to help as many people around me as I can, simply because I do feel guilty. But after every act of kindness, I am left wondering “what if.” 

What if I would have taken my time to help this lady? What if I would have just sucked it up and overcome my fears? What if this lady needed somebody to do something nice for her in order to help her turn her life around? 

It is these thoughts that are eating at me and thoughts that I will simply never have an answer to. 

Final Thoughts:

I learned something incredibly valuable this day. In reflecting on the guilt that I was feeling, I learned that this kindness challenge that I am trying to implement into my daily life isn’t just a challenge, but rather a lifestyle. 

Being kind to others takes practice, it takes determination, and it takes awareness. The more you practice kindness, the kinder you become. The kinder you become, the happier you are. The happier you are, the greater the opportunity you will have to positively impact the world around you.

From now on, I’m not going to see kindness as a challenge. Instead, I am going to see it as a way of life in hopes that I do more of it. Not only does it make me feel better about myself, but it also helps to create change in the lives of others as well.

Michael Bonnell

Yesterday’s post: Why It Is Important To Be Kind To Others

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