You made a mistake: Be happy!

But wait, what do you do after you make a mistake?

Do you scream, cry and rage, saying that one mistake has ruined your life? Or do you accept it, correct it and move on?

Well, first, prepare yourself, because you are going to make mistakes. Next, know that when you make a mistake, you’ll use it to help you. You learn through mistakes. As a copy editor, I remember mistakes that I missed or mistakes that I created, because I used them to help me become a better copy editor. Some mistakes lead to successes, some mistakes lead to horrible failures and it all depends on how you handle them.

Once I made the mistake of putting “diseased” instead of “deceased” in a presentation I gave in my public relations class about a celebrity. But when I came to it, I acknowledged I made the mistake, laughed about it and moved on. I didn’t let the mistake stop my presentation.

Life would be boring if we never made mistakes. Without mistakes we wouldn’t learn. We wouldn’t have pacemakers, potato chips or chocolate chip cookies.

A notable mistake was made on NPR’s Facebook page last Monday, Oct. 2. According to NPR, Christopher Dean Hopkins, editor for NPR, accidentally posted about “Ramona,” most likely his little girl, and about her chasing after cats “possessed by shrieking, spasmodic joy.”

He owned up to his mistake, and everyone loved the post.

A few minutes later, Hopkins edited it to say that the post was intended for a personal account. People commented on the post asking for more Ramona updates. They said they wanted to hear about a little girl chasing cats instead of more depressing news. Some people even said the editor deserved a raise.

According to NPR, Hopkins said, “We don’t generally delete posts, so I tried to do it in a way that would be transparent.”

This is a more common mistake that people might make, and the way Hopkins handled it made all the difference.

Mistakes can create successes if we utilize them. Take Neil Gaiman, a famous author, as an example. He wrote Coraline, a book that became a famous stop-motion movie. According to Gaiman’s blog, he created the name through “a slip of the fingers — I was typing … Caroline, and it came out wrong.”

The name “Coraline” is memorable, and the book he wrote garnered multiple awards. Without his acceptance of a simple mistake, the book may be completely different. It may not have even became a movie.

One of the most famous accidents was the creation of penicillin, which changed the course of medicine. According to PBS, Dr. Alexander Fleming came back to the lab at St. Mary’s Hospital to find a mold had contaminated the petri dishes, “Penicillium notatum.” Due to this accidental discovery, Fleming and other scientists were able to create penicillin antibiotics that have saved lives.

You will make mistakes. Perhaps not ones that will change the course of history or create a best seller, but it may be a mistake that might make someone else’s day better. It may even generate a largely viewed post on your site, as it did for NPR, as their post now has thousands of likes, shares and comments.

So, yes, you should watch out for mistakes and fix them, but if you accept them and be transparent, the mistakes may end up helping you more than hurting you. Be happy when you make a mistake because mistakes can lead to success.