A friend forwarded an interesting quote this morning. My curiosity was roused and I hunted down the rest of the quote. Turns out it is from the Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living (bottom of p. 313 on Google Books scan).
Mistakes are a natural part of growing up, and there is no need to brood over them. As my grandmother used to tell the young girls in my ancestral home when they began to work in the kitchen, we can all expect to do a little spilling and burning in order to learn to cook.
Even though we have a certain margin for error, the sooner we can learn from our mistakes, the less suffering we will have to undergo in life. The consequences of a mistake may last for many years, and in making a major decision, many of us are prone to over-calculate the satisfaction we are going to get out of it and overlook the suffering involved for ourselves as well as others. We often forget that the action we are contemplating contains the seed of its result.
I am particularly intrigued by the last sentence. I often see fear preventing me (and people in general) from doing something because I think something bad will result. The contemplated action contains the seed of its result. Along with the previous text, I know what has happened in the past - the mistakes I've made - and sometimes that prevents me from moving forward.
Instead of focusing on the mistakes and the possible bad effect, why not focus on what you might learn and what your past experiences bring to the current activity.
As I like to say when I go mountain biking, if I don't come back with a few scrapes, I am not trying hard enough.