I was in a University of Phoenix class, taking an online masters degree in education. An experienced teacher was teaching us something – I forget what now – and made a mistake. It was either a mistake someone corrected her on or possibly some slideshow that didn’t work properly because she was unprepared. Whatever the circumstance she said, “My bad,” and went on with the lesson. She followed up the comment by excusing herself from using teenage lingo. “My bad” is what the teens she works with say when they make a mistake.
I love the phrase and have adopted it as my own.
- My bad – oops I made a mistake.
- My bad – I own up to my part in what just happened.
- My bad – the thing I did probably made someone unhappy or frustrated.
- My bad – the thing I did may have had some minor consequences.
- My bad – it’s not me that’s bad, just the mistake I’m recognizing.
- My bad – it’s a one time deal, I can confront it and get over it quickly.
- My bad – everyone makes mistakes – see I just made one. No big deal.
I love it because I’ve never had a short simple way to acknowledge a mistake without seeming like either I’m bad or stupid as a person. I’m sorry acknowledges a mistake, but an apology isn’t always necessary. Oops acknowledges a mistake, but trivializes it and seems to place the blame outside yourself. Sometimes I used to personalize the event – the milk spilled rather than I spilled the milk. If the milk spilled, then it’s just a goofy, tippable, glass of milk. If I spilled the milk then the follow up discussion becomes focused on the I. Could I be more careful. Was I doing it intentionally. Was I careless. My bad focuses on the event, owns it, and dismisses it as a singular occurrence easily moved past.
This explanation is dragging on a little and getting boring.
Owning a mistake helps you get past it faster
Separating mistakes from ourselves helps us learn from them rather that being identified by them
Mistakes are a normal, good, positive, God-given way to learn