'Regret the error'

by Tin Bartolome

Posted at May 15 2014 10:32 PM | Updated as of May 16 2014 06:32 AM

Craig Silverman’s book bearing this title shares funny media errors but warns of dire consequences that are not to be taken lightly.

It reminds me of the saying “nasa huli ang pagsisisi”—something my mother always warned me about. At my age, it has come to mean so many other things besides thinking that my choice “seemed like a good idea at that time” (as my sons would say).

Regrettable errors

Sure, one can always say sorry, perhaps the way many have come to regard the sacrament of confession as a license to err once more. When we say sorry too often and it becomes as easy as saying hello, then it could mean that the deeper meaning—the humility to acknowledge one’s fault and/or weakness—may have become an excuse rather than a deterrent.

There really are regrettable errors in life—those that practically alter our directions, those that stunt our growth, render us invalid—or even dead inside. But it’s really what we make of it. Once aware that they are there, we find ways to surmount whatever obstacles they cause. If we take our cue from what our bodies do when infection sets in—face it, tackle it and bracket it off—then perhaps we stand a better chance against these obstacles in life.

This is easier said than done, but real transformation often comes from difficult or painful procedures. Sand becomes glass only if intense heat is applied; swords were made by heating and hammering, although modern procedures involve melting; one becomes good at something through years of intense training—whether in music or sports—and training is done doing it over and over for long periods until we get it right.

Knowing which ones to avoid

Of course, we should also know which mistakes to avoid—even only temporarily. These are the ones we are not strong enough or are ill equipped to face. But it does a world of good to remember that they are still there and are potentially dangerous to us.

To me, “regret the error” is a reminder that I should think twice before I say or do things or make promises I am not sure I can keep. It’s a reminder of what my role is and the responsibilities attached to that role. It’s also a warning that I may do damage to others as well.

Learning from past mistakes

This also means that whatever mistake I make should be a lesson learned. Everyone makes mistakes, so there’s plenty of opportunity to learn. My father said, “First time may be an honest mistake, but if it happens again, that’s already intentional”. Rather harsh, especially if lessons are not learned from mistakes.

Mistakes should not be forgotten after “sorry” has been said. In the same way, when one falls victim to a mistake, whether his/her own or somebody else’s, it is important to remember how and why that mistake was committed in order to avoid it. And one knows that we have learned such lessons when we are able to face that situation again with enough confidence, exert the same effort—practically relive it, this time doing it right so that we finally overcome it and triumph in the end—otherwise, it remains a baggage we carry all our lives.

Regretting the error is only half of it—it’s making an effort to avoid it that counts.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.