Do You Let Mistakes Haunt You?


Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.” — Groucho Marx

Technically I am supposed to be at the gym now but someone forgot to tell my muse that I am supposed to be tossing iron around so that I can turn back the clock and make this 44 year-old body look like it did when I was 20.

So I told the muse to enjoy a double dose of STFU and in return she/he/it grabbed me by the ears and forcefully pushed me into the chair and demanded I write.

But you know me, I am not a guy who goes down without a fight so I whirled around and tried to smack that little bastard in the teeth but the problem is that I didn’t have anyone to hit but me, so I shrugged my shoulders and sat down.

Figured that I could give myself five minutes to share a couple of thoughts and tales and remind you all that the best blogs are written by people who know how to tell a story and that the only way you can make that happen is by practicing.

Is Character Developed Or Genetic?

Ask Ma and Pa Wilner to tell you some stories about me as a wee lad and whether I ever got into trouble and I am guessing they will tell you that I was a good boy, more or less.

But I imagine they might tell you about the time when I was around five and told my father that instead of being punished I wanted to fight him. Or maybe they’ll tell you about how when I received the occasional “potch” I would tell them that “I take this potch and I throw it away!”

If I had my druthers I might ask you to ask my grandfathers about me as a youth because stories would be much better and they would tell you that I haven’t made more than three or four mistakes in my life, including my failure to double down that one time in Vegas, but we can’t talk about that now.

And maybe we’d look at those few mistakes and ask whether there was a connection between them and if perhaps I made the same one more than once or if perhaps once burned made me fear to do it again.

When I think about some of the events of the last few years and my response when things didn’t go my way I think about the stories I shared and smile because in some respects my reaction is the same.

The Same But Different

It is the same in the respect that I want to fight, but not in a literal sense. I don’t feel the need to go beat someone up, but I do feel the need to fix things.

Call it a competitive nature. I don’t like losing, not that anyone does and when it happens I try to figure out how to win the next time around.

Sometimes I look at my own children and wonder what they will be like when they are older. Will the behaviors they exhibited as babies continue through to adulthood?

Will my son always hate chocolate? I don’t care that he does, just curious. Will my daughter continue to love to write like me and tell me that she has a “passion for fashion” and that I have none.

Again, doesn’t really matter, just curious.

Groucho Is Right

Groucho is right about learning from the mistakes of others but if you ask me there should be a line there about not being afraid to make your own.

And while those of you who know me try to read between the lines let me help you and promise not to reveal any more about what lies beneath the surface here because that is not the point.

The point is that if you are going to bother living life than you might as well be willing to dance in the fire from time to time because you can’t get through this place without getting burnt at least once so you might as well enjoy yourself while you do.

Got to run, now because the muse has walked out and I have to use my stealth and grace to hit the gym for at least a little while.

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  1. Pingback: Top Ten Biggest Mistakes In Life…So Far

  2. Mary Stephenson July 7, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Hi Josh
    Mistakes!  Well some have really been impacting and those the ones I have to beat back, some days worse than others.  I hope that all those mistakes will be revealed someday as the passage that I had to take to where I needed to be.  But dang the journey has been slow….right now I see them as big mistakes but may be they will turn out not to be so, but it better hurry up because I am not getting any younger!
    Some mistakes you think they are laid to rest, but circumstances change and now they are front and center, ugh!  But there is absolutely nothing I can do about what has been done in the past, it is now how to make it through the future.

    • Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes July 8, 2013 at 10:58 pm

      Mary StephensonSometimes it is impossible to see how mistakes will help or hinder us. The trick is to not let those mistakes prevent us from taking action in the future. Sometimes it is hard not to feel like kicking ourselves afterwards, but… –

  3. Jens-Petter Berget July 7, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Hi Josh,
    So, you’ve switched to Livefyre. I’m really looking forward to year about your experience with it. It’s been a while since I commented using this system, but I’ve thought about adding it to my blog as well.
    I am terrible when it comes to mistakes. I keep thinking about my mistakes and I won’t let them go as soon as I should.  But, I do learn from them, and from the mistakes of other, I just wish I would stop thinking of mine a bit sooner.

    • Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes July 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Jens-Petter Berget Hi Jens,
      I switched last night on this blog and using it as a test. I am waiting for the old comments to be imported. Seems to be working ok.
      My mind often focuses on the mistakes I have made too. It is not always easy to forget, but I suspect practice might help.

  4. Brian D. Meeks July 6, 2013 at 6:04 am

    I don’t tend to dwell on mistakes. I’m not sure why, but once its done I tend to move on. If it was a mistake born out of inability, then it motivates me to get better. If it was a blunder out of simply not knowing, then I do find that I learn from it.

    Mistakes aren’t the worst thing in the world…the worst thing in the world is Ohio State losing to michigan.

  5. Barbara July 6, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Love Groucho but I prefer to make my own mistakes, the learning factor has so much more impact. On the other hand I could do without stupid / careless mistakes so I might reconsider.
    Did you get that body of yours in shape or is that probing between the lines?

  6. Stan Faryna July 5, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Mistakes will happen and I’m ok with that (mostly), but I want very much not to make the careless mistake. They too will happen, I regret, and they will pester and annoy me to no end. The repeated mistake will reveal self-deceit, passion or both – if you stop to piece together the preponderances of them. But every once in a while, I find the courage to stop making the same mistake. Every once in a while, I will repent of an evil way. Or conceit.

    It’s only too bad, that happens so rarely.

    • Josh July 6, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      Hi Stan,

      I think the ones that bother me the most are the “stupid’ ones where I do the same thing over and over again. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

  7. Julie Barrett July 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    We could start a blog dance where we all post My Top 10 Major Errors In Life – Learn From This Before It Eats You but then we’re all doing our own dance and who knows if anyone would learn anything.

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