Mistake Or A Bad Choice? Don’t Confuse One With The Other

Mistake or a bad choice?

I once heard a quote that said, “You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice.” There is a great deal of truth in that statement. Because of poor choices, many people live a life of chaos and confusion. Often these same people label their failures as mistakes. , This causes me to wonder whether they made mistakes or simply bad choices. Some people do not understand the difference. There is definitely a difference between a mistake and a bad choice. If you will allow me a few moments, I will explain my viewpoints.

So what is the difference?

I will use a very simple analogy to explain the difference between a mistake and a bad choice. Suppose you went to a restaurant and ordered a meal. Also, suppose the food brought on a violent allergic reaction after eating it. This would be an instance where a mistake was made. It would be a mistake because you were unaware of the possible repercussions of eating that particular food. Because you were unaware of any allergic tendencies to the food that you ate, you did not hesitate to order it. This would be an example of a mistake. A mistake occurs when a person lacks information or knowledge based on previous experience. Nobody would intentionally eat food they knew would bring on an allergic reaction.

Now if you returned to the same restaurant two weeks later and order the very same meal, that would be a bad choice. You would already know you had a serious allergic reaction to the food the last time you ate it. Ordering the food would be a bad choice. We often make mistakes in life because we are unaware of negative consequences that will follow. We should use those times as a teaching moments and resolve to never repeat those same actions again. If we did repeat those same actions, we would be doing it with full knowledge of the likely negative repercussions.

If a baby touches something very hot, that baby makes a mental note to never again touch what caused them pain. Why do so many adults never learn from their mistakes? Too many keep repeating the same stupid actions over and over again. Then, they are left wondering why they live a life of pain. Many want to say their actions were mistakes when they were actually bad choices. Perhaps labeling their actions as mistakes creates room for them to blame someone else for their  misfortunes. If they label it a mistake, they can always say, “Well nobody told me…” This type of logic is insane. 

Choose your company wisely

Be careful which group of people you embrace as friends. Some people live life in a state of turmoil, and can potentially drag you down with them. We often don’t realize the drama and baggage people carry around in their life. Associating with negative and toxic people will infest your life with negativity. If you continue to associate with those same people, you have nobody to blame but yourself for the negative repercussions that come about in your life. Continuing to associate with them would shift from being a mistake to a choice.

Don’t confuse a mistake with a bad choice

When mistakes cause turmoil in our lives, we must realize our mistakes and take action to change. Continuing through life doing things you know will bring about problems is not living a life full of mistakes; it’s living a life full of bad choices. If a heavy smoker gets lung cancer as a result of their smoking, their smoking cannot be labeled a mistake. It’s a bad choice. It would be labeled a bad choice because it has been clinically proven that cigarette smoking causes cancer. There are even warnings on packs of cigarettes about the health risks involved with smoking. For a smoker to say they made a mistake by smoking, and that is why they developed lung cancer…I don’t buy that. A smoker is aware of the dangers of smoking when they light up. They are making a bad choice by ignoring the risks involved.

We must learn from our mistakes

Mistakes are often unavoidable because we simply don’t realize our actions will result in negative consequences. We have all made mistakes. I have made more mistakes than I can count. We should not let past mistakes to keep us afraid to get up and try again. Past mistakes should be used as guides to teach us and drive us to a better life. Someone once said we should use our past mistakes as guideposts not hitching posts. The key thought I want to leave you with is that we have to be honest with ourselves in distinguishing mistakes from bad choices.

Often mistakes are something we have no control over because we don’t have all the facts based on previous experience. Once we have faced a crisis because of a mistake we have made, anything involving those same actions becomes a choice. Unlike mistakes, we do have control over our choices. Don’t spend days, months, or years of your life in regret over past mistakes. Forget your mistakes but never forget the lessons  they provide. Your mistakes can serve as a means for you to make better choices in the future. Remember, “You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice.”

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Mark

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