I've been thinking a lot about mistakes lately. For me it feels like they've been piling up over the past couple weeks or so. Things I've forgotten to do in my games, or things I've done wrong in them. Actions I haven't taken as a player. Hell, even in my outside of game life I've made a ton of mistakes. This very post is a mistake, written after realizing I completely forgot to actually set the post meant for today to publish.
The thing is, when you make a lot of mistakes it is easy to look at them and feel overwhelmed. Your mind doesn't like it. It takes a look at the mistakes and it only sees them. It doesn't see the successes. It doesn't see what caused the mistakes. It just sees them, and then it judges you a failure, and then you feel worse, and then you make more mistakes, and then you realize you're writing a sentence with multiple uses of "and then" in it.
However, there is something you need to learn when you see that pile of mistakes. Well, two things. The first is that everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes every individual will make a whole lot of them. It is perfectly normal. The other, is that mistakes are a great tool to learn. Especially when it comes to small things in your game.
For me, one of the things I've found myself lamenting is that as much as I love the L5R system and setting, I've never done much with the Hnor table on it. I mean, it is a core part of the game, and I just kind of leave it alone. This struck me hard the other day when I found myself working on modifications to the Force and Destiny "Morality" system and the fact I was using L5R's honor system as the basis really hit home. Along with that realization came the revelation of just how easy it would be to incorporate.
I can't do it now for my game. But I could do it in the future. Maybe I will. Maybe I'll forget.
The point is, when you see that mountain of mistakes try not to feel despair. Try to find the lesson and move on. And always remember that if a mistake leads to more fun at the gaming table, then it isn't a mistake. It's the right thing to have done.