One day I was discussing an issue with a friend when I came to the realization that I misunderstood a situation. I then knew I had to apologize to a few people and told my friend. She then told me “That’s why every pencil has an eraser”. What an insightful comment.
Deleting a Mistake
Think about it. A simple pencil with an eraser that we take for granted plays such a meaningful role in our life. It gives a redo. A new start. It allows the user to erase their mistakes. For example, in math, it allows us to erase our wrong answer so we can re-write the correct answer. It allows the engineer to redo a drawing of a design. The list of redos is endless.
Even in the digital world, the eraser exists. It’s a digital eraser. It’s the backspace button on your computer or phone. And for bigger mistakes, you can highlight a section and hit the delete button. Even as I write this post, I used both functions.
Her statement just resonated with me. Why? Because we all have the ability to at least try to erase our mistakes in life. We all make mistakes. Some of us make fewer than others but no one is mistake-free. The point is what you do with your mistake? Do you own up to your mistakes? Do you let others know when you made a mistake and when necessary, do you apologize? Did you learn from your mistake? This is no different than the saying “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. What matters is how many times you get back up”.
Acknowledge vs Apologize
Now there is a difference in acknowledging a mistake and apologizing for one. When you apologize, not only are you admitting to others you made a mistake but you are expressing regret for the wrongdoing. Apologizing is not a weakness as some might view it. I consider it a strength. It takes courage to show regret to a mistake. Admitting mistakes gives others the opportunity to work with you. Possibly help you. Apologizing just enhances that opportunity in most cases.
Realize every mistake can not be erased. But, you can learn from them. You can make sure that it never happens again. However, you still have the ability to admit the mistake and apologize when necessary.
There’s power in admitting a mistake but there are even more benefits if you show regret. This personal growth supports leadership and teamwork.
“Every pencil has an eraser” is a great motto to remember. It serves as a reminder that you have the ability to erase your mistakes!