Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Importance of Making Mistakes

As human beings, we often feel mortified with ourselves when we make a mistake. When we get something wrong, when we forget to do something, when we let someone down. All these things are avoidable and make us feel bad about ourselves. They are all examples of mistakes that most of us will be familiar with.

What is important is not so much making mistakes, as everyone who has ever lived has done that, but what we learn from making a mistake. If we make a mistake, but then learn nothing from the experience, then that is a failure. If we make a mistake, but learn something from the experience, then that is a success.

No one is immune to making mistakes. We are all fallible and sometimes we get things wrong. That is human nature.

It is important to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Take control of the situation and take personal responsibility when you get something wrong. Why? Because it puts you in charge! If you constantly blame everyone else for your mistakes, then you can never rectify them, because in your own mind you didn’t make them. You can’t change anyone else but yourself. So by taking responsibility for your mistakes, you put yourself in charge, where you can take control and make things right.

Admitting to making a mistake is not always easy, and I’d be lying if I said it was. Some people are better at it than others. If you make the connection between taking responsibility for making a mistake, and seeing how that gives you control of the situation, then suddenly it becomes much easier.

Do not go beating yourself up for making a mistake. Self flagellation is pointless and painful. It doesn’t help you move forward, and it doesn’t remedy the situation. Apologise with total sincerity to those involved that you have made a mistake, learn from the experience, and move on. This changes the entire dynamic of the situation, from being a negative one, to a positive one!

Sometimes a mistake is not always black and white. It may be down to a difference of opinion or point of view. So what may appear to be a mistake to one person, may well be acceptable to someone else. Attitude and perspective are important components when judging a situation or outcome.

In life, sometimes the greatest successes are those that were achieved when mistakes were involved along the way. It is precisely because of these mistakes that we have a greater sense of satisfaction, because a greater degree of effort was required to overcome them and achieve the desired outcome. If we set out to do something, and nothing goes wrong, and we achieve our intended outcome, that is great. If we set out to do something, and we make mistakes along the way, and we still achieve our intended outcome, then that is greater still!

Mistakes are a fact of life and the way we are seen to learn from them, regain our composure and start anew is an important part of becoming a rounded, confident human being.

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