In the wise words of MTV’s The Hills star, Lauren Conrad, “Go with your gut, but use your head.” Listen, I love The Hills as much as the next millennial. However, that line has always seemed contradictory to me.

Now my thought process may be a bit skewed, but hear me out. I always thought that going with your heart or gut meant “making a bold move” without regard for the facts. It is taking a risk or chance and hoping it all works out. Following your heart is motivated heavily by feelings and emotions. While on the other hand, I thought using your head meant paying attention to the facts and deciding what you know instead of how you feel. It is not taking a risk but making a calculated, informed decision.

When you think of it that way, (hopefully) you can see why these statements have always perplexed me. If not, then bear with me! How do you know what situations call for using your head and what problems call for using your heart? What if you use the wrong one? I suppose that’s part of the journey, as cliche as it sounds. I think part of life is learning when to make decisions using your heart or head.

Everyone gets it wrong sometimes but don’t let that discourage you. Failing is part of the process. It allows us to know when we do something incorrectly. Often words like “wrong” or “incorrect” have a negative connotation. Society conditions us to view mistakes as the enemy when they are essential to the process. Without mistakes, we can’t learn our limits and/or the truth. Sometimes you have to get it wrong a few times to get it right one time.

Next time you make a mistake that bothers you, remember the value. I bet you won’t make the same mistake again, or at least for a while. I have a quote on my desk that reads, “There are no mistakes, only lessons,” and I purposely put it there so I could read it every day. We all make mistakes, and that’s okay. However, our response is what makes the difference. Anger will only get you so far, but learning will unlock doors you never knew existed. Keep making mistakes (within reason, of course)!