Nine life ‘mistakes’ that turned out to be the best things that happened

Alex Mathers
5 min readMay 26


I’ve lost a lot of time ruminating about the past.

A younger me wished I could go back in time and change so much.

Now I look at my mistakes with gratitude. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my mental health.

I now see that my biggest mistakes were when I learned the most significant lessons.

Whether looking back on them or anticipating them when they inevitably show up, making mistakes is vital for our growth.

Here are some of mine:

1. Starting and failing at several businesses.

I’ve started and failed at all kinds of schemes that didn’t work but which taught me about the reality of entrepreneurship, serving customers, and the pain that can come with creating your own things from scratch.

Among others, I’ve started and failed at a real estate website, a design shop, a Google plus explainer course, an illustration blog, and an art promotion business that flopped so hard that I ended up having to refund half of my seventy customers.

2. Failing to use two expensive degrees.

I studied geography for three years in London, followed up by a two-year masters course in real estate. This took years of time and investment.

I promptly started my own global design business, which developed into my coaching and writing work and I have not used either degree since. Many would see this as a waste of time.

I see it as adding depth to my life history and painting a picture of a young man with rapidly shifting preferences in his twenties.

3. Being the ‘quiet kid’ at school.

Man, did this one bring me grief for years.

I went to boarding school and barely spoke in class for the five years I was there. I was straight-up terrified of rejection. I felt like a weirdo and just couldn’t find the courage to speak up.

I regretted this for a decade after, turning eventually into social anxiety.



Alex Mathers

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