A mistake is never a bad thing, unless you make the same mistake twice. Once you've done it, realize your error, and learn from it, the only foolish thing is to end up in the same place and do the same thing a second time.
Today I read a great article about someone who learned a lot from his first go-round in the business world. Joe Gillette learned from experience that sometimes when we think we have it all together ... we don't. But we can have it a little more together the next time around.
I've met more than one person who justifies their behavior, the workings of their business, their employees, their money-spending habits, and the expenses of their business in incredible ways. When we get down to brass tacks and look at things in dollar figures in black-and-white, there's always wide eyes and disbelief. There's surprise and some indignation as we conceptualize in clear terms the flaws in their business model. Then we work through the initial emotions and turn them into determination and dedication. We translate emotion into action, and we never look back.
Mistakes are opportunities to learn. In fact, they shouldn't be called mistakes at all ... unless you make them twice.