I went for a spelling bee but didn’t make it to the next round. Why? I flopped. ‘Ow’…right? After spending hours flipping through various huge and intimidating dictionaries, I didn’t make it. Why? I spelled my first wrong wrong. What was the word? COUGH. Yep! Cough! That was the word. You could have imagined the shock on faces. Victoria spelled ‘COUGH’ wrongly when she had been spelling ‘ floccinaucinihilipilification’ with ease. What happened? I got frightened on stage and misspelled it. Walking down the stage back to my seat was so depressing. Yeah, I deliberately withdrew myself into the abyss of my thought. I thought the worst. I’m dumb. I’m this. I’m that. I ignored the sympathy from classmates and just rushed out of the hall to have some fresh air. The fact that I spelled such a small regular word wrongly made me crazy. It felt like the biggest mistake in my life. Abruptly wanting to hear some brutish scolding, I dialed my mum and this was how the conversation played out.
ME: Hey mum…
MUM: Hey! How’s it going?
ME: I didn’t make it.
MUM: Awwn. But you read your brains off. What happened? Was the word tough? Did they pronounce it right.
ME: [sighs] The word was cough. Sorry for disappointing you.
MUM: You didn’t disappoint me babe and I’m proud of you and I’ll always be. Don’t dare start sulking. I know your worth. Everyone knows you’re good. It was a mistake that anyone could have made. Mistakes are inevitable. How we choose to deal with is our choice. Learn from it and don’t repeat it. It’s funny though but I won’t laugh. Yet. [stifles laughter.]
ME: Thanks mum. I’m not gonna cry and I’m gonna head back in.
I went back in and cheered my colleagues and took out all the blue thoughts from my mind. Later that night, I started thinking. We map out perfect strategies, prepare so hard for something but along the line, a mistake ruins it all. Is that enough to really make you head for the mud? It was a mistake! Mistakes happen. But how we choose to view it matters a lot. That mistake I made could have demoralized me and killed my self esteem. While my mind was flooded with a barrage of pessimistic thoughts, I’m confident I’d made up my mind never to participate in any competition or go on a stage in fear that I’d ridicule myself but my mum cast out the distorted veil in my face. She believed in me and made perceive mistakes from another angle. ‘Learn from it and don’t repeat it.’ That is it! That’s what mistakes are about. They are lessons we have to learn in the not so peachy way. I’m sure that the next time I’m on any stage, I’m not gonna let tension or stage fright pull me down. That mistake has made me work on myself. It has made me work on my stage attitude.
I trust you’ve made a mistake or two or are gonna make one soon but don’t fret. Don’t let it weigh you down! Let it drag you up! Let it reform you! Let it make you better! Let it prepare you for the next time! Mistakes happen…so what? It’s not the end of the world.