I have made mistakes with consequences that have lasted a lifetime, others that carried no consequences at all or were so insignificant they were quickly forgotten — and of course, many others that fell somewhere in-between the two extremes.
We hate making mistakes because they are painful. They can lead to disappointing results and disappointment in ourselves for failing. Mistakes and the feeling of failure are intricately intertwined in our psyche.
We rip ourselves apart, inwardly weeping and criticizing ourselves for a mistake that we should have been able to avoid. The feeling of failure can be overwhelming.
I’m going to suggest a way of handling those feeling that can change everything. It is not necessarily easy, but it works (if you work it).
A New Perspective
Making mistakes, failing to perform at your best, and dealing with the disappointment that follows are all indicators that you are willing to take your best shot to get what you want. They are signals that you are on a path to creating the life you want to live.
A mistake — especially a big one — should be embraced regardless of the hurt that comes with it. Don’t let it harden you! Instead, look for the lessons in the experience that will make success more likely when you try again.
Even in the midst of heartbreak, or bone-crushing disappointment, there are lessons to be learned about . . .
- presentations, your job, your colleagues, your boss
- what you did well
- what you could do differently
- where you veered off track (and how to get back on)
You simply must be willing to dig deep and uncover the information that is waiting to be found.
The Three-step Process of Learning from Mistakes
- Accept that what’s done is done. You cannot undo the mistake.
- Study the experience from beginning to end and find the golden nuggets that will make your next effort more effective.
- Push the disappointment or heartbreak aside, refocus your energy, and try again, implementing the lessons you have learned.
It Takes Courage
In the most recent version of the movie, Cinderella, the dying mother says to her daughter, “Have courage and be kind — and you will live a good life.”
That is powerful advice, and it applies well in this context. If you have the courage to face mistakes, failure, and disappointment with kindness toward yourself and others, there is nothing that you cannot do.
First, you must forgive yourself. Acknowledge that you did your best and it didn’t go as planned, but you can always try again. Trust that you can do better.
Second, forgive anyone you may be tempted to blame. You have no control over anyone’s actions except your own — so let it go and focus on yourself.
Third, accept support from those who offer it. Bring them into your circle of pain when things fall apart. Share your experience with them and talk about the lessons you learned. Give them the opportunity to learn with you.
Be a model of strength and perseverance. Show them through your actions what it means to have courage, and to be kind when things are rough. This will encourage them to do the same in return, allowing you to learn from their mistakes, as well.
Mistakes make us wiser, more knowledgeable, and better prepared for whatever happens. Mistakes are the surest way to advance your life.
The only true failure is refusing to try new things and not learning from our mistakes.
Now — it’s your turn . . .
Find a quiet place and ask yourself the questions below. Think carefully about your answers and be as honest as possible.
— What are three of the worst mistakes I have made?
— What did I learn from each one?
— How have the lessons helped me?
We must learn to be thankful for our mistakes and appreciate the benefits hidden in the pain. All we have to do is look for them.
The only way to never make a mistake is to stop dreaming, to stop loving, and to stop trying to improve.
Now it’s your turn. Please share what you learned – using the comments box below.
Related Article: How to Keep Your Head from Exploding