Accepting some mistakes

The German philosopher F. Nietzsche once said:
“it is no use living arguing about everything; it is part of human nature to make a mistake now and again.”

And the writer James Joyce shares the same opinion
“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.”

Yet we all know people who absolutely insist that they are right even down to the smallest details.
We ourselves are often included in this category: we don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes.

All that we achieve with such an attitude is the fear of moving forward – because certain steps call for new decisions whose results are unknown to us.

The fear of making a mistake is the door that locks us up in the castle of mediocrity: if we manage to overcome this fear, we are taking an important step towards our freedom.


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  1. Arto Hutto says:

    In Swedish:

    Att acceptera misstag

    Den tyske filosofen F. Nietzsche sa en gång:
    “Det är ingen idé att leva och argumentera om allt, det är en del av den mänskliga naturen att begå misstag lite då och då.”
    Och författaren James Joyce delar samma åsikt
    “En mans fel är hans portaler till upptäckt.”

    í„ndå känner vi alla till människor som absolut insisterar på att de har rätt ända ned till minsta detalj.
    Vi ingår ofta själva i denna kategori: vi tillåter oss inte att göra misstag.

    Allt som vi uppnår med en sådan inställning är rädslan för att gå framåt – eftersom vissa steg kräver nya beslut vars resultat är okända för oss.

    Rädslan för att göra misstag är dörren som låser oss inne i medelmåttighetens slott: om vi lyckas övervinna denna rädsla, tar vi ett viktigt steg mot vår frihet.

    Mer Paulo Coelho på svenska:

  2. Andriy says:

    I think failures and mistakes in life should not be feared. Since most people mature and learn after they have encountered failure and a mistake.

  3. Leandro says:

    The error is inevitable, so we must assume our errors, repair the damage he did and learn from it.
    We can only learn from experience and acquire knowledge through experience, so the error is fundamental. The error shows us new doors to open. The old doors do not lead anywhere, and through the experience and know not to open them again. Every mistake we make is another chance to hit the next attempt,
    There is also a shortcut. Learn from the mistakes of others, but that should not be very interesting and exciting.

  4. Car Tent says:

    Life won’t be that interesting if everything is perfect and normal. Mistakes in life are normal so that we are able to learn from it and grow in our own way.

  5. Rabbit Hutch says:

    Humans as we are, it is normal to make mistakes. It is okay to make mistakes as long as you try to correct them and avoid doing the same mistakes again all over again.

  6. Nikita says:

    Wouldn’t life be so much at ease if we start applying it in our Lives !!


  7. Awais Anware says:

    Thanks for this post….
    But I believe people don’t fear of making mistakes but the fear of unforgiving attitude of other people is one that locks them in the mediocrity.

  8. George Green says:

    What about the school systems? Aren’t they teaching us to always choose what is right and avoid mistakes? In school, mistake is almost synonymous with failure. I think school systems greatly affect how people make decisions and do things later in their life. I’ve known of so many professionals who are afraid to commit mistakes and thus, become so indecisive in a lot of things especially in their career. Sad but true.

    1. Karen Clark says:

      I for one am teaching my students to make mistakes! Analyzing our mistakes is how we learn. My classroom is all about that.

  9. Sussy Chacon says:

    My bigger error is think that the life is perfect, the life is only beautiful we have to enjoy every moment and I enjoy reading your books thanks Paulo

  10. Jodi young says:

    Thank you for the work you do, your books have been an inspiration for me giving me courage through some of the darkest moments of my life so far. I “work” on people everyday who suffer from pain. Most of their pain seems to stem from the inability to change. Accepting the truth and having the guts to act upon an unhealthy decision then make a change is the theme I’m discovering most of my clients are willing to try. At least they are beginning to admit their mistakes and hopefully in turn take the step toward transformation.
    Last week I went to a large book store and purchased The Alchemist ( a gift I give to so many people I meet ) as I walked through the store I reminded myself to only buy one book and not get distracted like a child in a candy shop. Standing in front of the selection of books I saw what I was looking for and took it from the shelf. Mission accomplished I was ready to walk away but something made me pause, and look to my left where the bright morning light was shining in through the enormous windows. When I turned my attention back to where I was standing my eyes fell upon The Witch of Portobello. I watched my hand reach for the book telling myself – what are you doing! There is no time to look at books besides you are here to buy one book, money is tight for extra things now, read a bit about it online it would be less costly, the chatter was silenced by… I don’t really know what to say but I call it my heart voice I suppose if I had to name it, I only know when I hear “that voice” I know that when I don’t listen to it mistakes are made. It said take this book too you don’t know why at this moment but you will want this for Tori ( my 24 year old son who lives in Morrocco.
    I’ve raised my son on my own. We lived in Paris where I was a model for many years until my tears of being on the wrong path drove me back to Florida, school, and a new life. Fate had other plans -three years into a new career as a massage therapist I had worked myself to exhaustion. The feeling my clients gave me was an image of vampires sucking the life energy from me. One evening as I fell asleep after a brutal day I told myself it will be a miracle if I can walk tomorrow morning. Big Mistake.
    The following morning the pain was unbearable. I’ve already had 2 previous lower back surgeries, what was I going to do? How would I get my son ready for school, my world would change forever from that day on.
    Tori was 15 and already seen me in so much pain in his life so far I can’t blame him for his decisions. Without family or friends it was too much responsibility for him, a little over a year later he asked to take the GED high school diploma, passed the tests, and returned back to Paris and his father. A month later he was landing in Pondicherry with his older step brother to help translate while they travelled. Fast forward- the older brother detested India changed his ticket and ran back to France 3 weeks later. Tori said he found where he was supposed to be, he gave away most all his luggage down to a very small backpack, he began wearing a longi, no shoes, and learned the language quickly. A year later he was living in Pakistan learning about the Sufi’s. He lived near Pechawar tending goats with another boy and his family until the earthquake in 2005. He survived by miracle but this is another story. Shortly after the assassination of Bhutto they closed the borders. Tori spent 2 weeks sleeping at Amaristar hoping to get back to his friends but he was told to go home. His heart broken he went back to India. His father now had the chance to get him out of Asia, he was frightened that perhaps he would stay there it was now 3 years he was there. He offered him to go to morocco and help build a winter house for the family. Tori speaks Arabic but soon learned the Bedouin dialect from the Atlas tribes. Today he has built 5 homes, he lives without electricity, water and heating often in the process of building them. He manages a group of Bedouin whom now have a reputation of doing excellent work. In these times this is something to be proud of and have work. His passion is growing things, I think he only sees this earth as a big garden, his pockets are full of seeds at any moment. He is walking to the beat of his own drum. The day he was born after the world had gone to sleep I held him in my arms and I talked to him until dawn. I told him about the little voice inside his heart, and so many other things about this new world and choices we make with each breath.
    Your books have given me the permission to become the woman I was intended to be. Many people have called me crazy to go down the path I’m on. Reading the Witch of Portobello was absolutely what I needed for my spirit now. Today I’m even more determined to continue my work, I’m no longer going to hide or sugar coat what I do for fear of what people think or say.
    Thank you for your work you have made me a better person -my son is proof that I wasn’t wrong in my choices as well as mistakes.
    Bless you

    1. Paulo Coelho says:

      May God bless TORI, an example to all of us

    2. Amany says:


      Same effect happened on me when I read Alchemist. I understand what you are saying letter by letter. Indeed you have all the positive energy to help you doing what you desire to do. Honored to read your story..


      You have also changed me alot…lots of respect u

      Amany from Cairo, Egypt

  11. boris says:

    Funny how oftentimes the one who is supposedly right does not gain much out of it. The problem nowadays is that the interest of an individual is not properly recognized as the interest of the entire community.
    ‘Anyone who challenges the PREVAILING orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness.’
    (George Orwell)
    Our life is becoming more and more a rat race. The trouble of course with rat races is that even if you win you are still a rat. The prevailing orthodoxy is very young nowadays and I am not young and ‘fast’ enough to know everything :)

    As always an inspiring article.

  12. Halina Skoczek says:

    When I got married many years ago – my Parrents thought: “That is big mistake!” They were right (my life showed),
    but I have two lovely sons from that mistake:)!

  13. Bea says:

    Our iperfection shows we’re human beings

  14. narcis says:

    I do mistake .It is not good but I feel I am alive and live in the world.

    1. SUNIL JUGRAN says:

      “Me And Myself”

      I do take
      Cognizance of
      My follies
      And inabilities
      But then
      I pardon
      And liberally
      After all
      It’s between
      Me and myself
      But some times
      I am very
      Towards my self
      After all
      It’s between
      Me and myself

  15. konie Lappin says:

    Errors and mistakes have a weird energy. For sure something that makes us afraid or insecure of not reaching what we are trying to conquer. Or anything so similar to such sensation around this point.
    we all must get the risk to move forward on and on, even thou we fall down or commit the same mistake. But we have to know that nothing is always the same but just similar. Without mistakes probably we never know what is the best for us in terms of being alright-mama.WITH ERRORS AND MISTAKES WE ALL LEARN. whatsoever, LET Åš MOVE FORWARD STRAIGHT TO OUR BEST GOAL, KEEP DOING THE BEST PART OF YOURSELF EVER

    1. Halina Skoczek says:

      I agree with You:)

  16. Arezou says:

    what is mistake? Is it happen when you don’t know it’s mistake but do it or although you know it is mistake but you do it for having yourself experience or to get enjoy?

  17. Sheela nandini says:

    “With all my mistakes there’s always a sweet one too,
    Along with my punishment,O,give me a little love too.

    If my destiny is to drown,then this too is true,
    Drown I surely will,but take the boatman with me too.”

    (english translation:Pavan K Varma)

    1. SUNIL JUGRAN says:

      Nice poetry by Sir Kaifi Azmi–thanks again Sheela

      “But Let There Be”

      I want some darkness
      To hide
      My compulsions
      But let there be
      Some light too
      And of my canvas
      Let it be dull
      But let it be
      Somewhat bright too
      Some sorrows
      I can handle
      With calm
      But let there be
      In my life
      Some delight too
      My tears may
      Extinguish the flames
      But let them
      Ignite too
      Let there be
      Brightness of the day
      But let there be
      Darkness of the
      Night too

    2. Sheela nandini says:

      You are most welcome,Sunil. Kaifi Saheb is just so amazing.
      Liked both your poems:)Thanks for sharing.

    3. tani says:

      thank u Sunil Jugran Sir…loved ur poem…n thank u all of u for the beautiful posts…n most of all thank paulo sir for continually enlightening us,youngsters with beautiful creations…i think we will never be able to appreciate n crave for perfections if we don’t learn to accept its yang-ie imperfection…i as a kid had always tried to be mama’s girl n listen to all her complaints evn before she said it…but i hav just realized that in the process we never talked our hearts out each other…n i..hav never learned how crack silly jokes!!…n today..believe me..i am trying to learn how to be imperfect n enjoy life from m friends!! n m just loving it.
      thanks…thank u to all again..

  18. angelina iacovelli says:


  19. James Stygles says:

    I wish had read the above earlier in my life. It came to me a little later still in time and thank God for that.

    We should giveour youth every opportunity to work and yes make mistakes and learn from them. Allow them to develop and grow in their lives.

    Every country in the world should make a massive effort to give companies the means to create jobs jobs for young people.

    Any jobs because you can learn from sweeping a floor and because you were there at one time in your life you appreciate the people who do that job later on.

    Pro growth and full employment and give the young a chance to grow.

  20. Jaqueline Simon says:

    O erro ní£o é inconsciente,acredito eu que erramos tentando acerta. Ní£o é errado que reconhecemos quando acertamos?
    sí£o os opostos (erros e acertos neste caso) que tornam nossa estada nesta dimensí£o mais interessante.