Path in woods.

Don’t Allow Mistakes to Paralyze Your Progress

Life will throw challenges our way that threaten to paralyze us with fear. But when we continue to show up and try, our mistakes can become valuable opportunities for learning and growth.

Show Up and Try.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska

The world teaches us to avoid mistakes at all costs. Words such as failure, loser, and not good enough are used to describe someone who doesn’t live up to the standards of perfection at work, at home, or on the playing field.

To combat these worldly philosophies, BYU accounting professor Cassy Budd discusses in her BYU devotional address, “On Failing and Finishing,” how she has used her mistakes and seeming failures to learn and grow. She shares an experience from her childhood piano lessons that taught her how mistakes can have paralyzing effects if we allow them to.

As a young girl, Budd had a piano teacher who would strike her hands with a pencil whenever she made a mistake. Because this habit was ingrained in her mind, Budd still cannot play the piano without stopping whenever she makes a mistake.

“When you allow yourself to be paralyzed by your mistakes,” Budd cautions, “you diminish your ability to be useful in God’s kingdom.” Throughout our lives, mistakes can actually be some of our most useful learning and growing tools as we learn to “effectively play through them.” Instead of allowing ourselves to become paralyzed by our past mistakes and fearful of making more mistakes, Budd suggests that we simply “show up and try.”

The Lord does not expect us to be perfect without his help. As the master Teacher, he knows that mistakes are part of our journey back to him and are valuable opportunities for us to try again and grow.

Read Cassy Budd’s full speech “On Failing and Finishing.

Source: BYU Speeches

—Mckenna Gustafson Clarke, Mormon Insights contributor 

feature image by beata ratuszniak

Find more insights

Read more about piano lesson metaphors for life in Brad Wilcox’s BYU devotional “His Grace Is Sufficient.”

Read or watch Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s talk “Sins and Mistakes” to read more about learning from our mistakes.

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  1. This devotional address was one that I will never forget. I especially loved her story about climbing out of the cave. Failure is such a frightening thing but it really can be exactly what we need. This was a great reminder for me that being imperfect is a blessing, a teaching tool, not just an obstacle to overcome.

  2. Great reminder and great read! Good job Mckenna!

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