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Quit Complaining and Start Learning from Your Mistakes


Source : Quit Complaining and Start Learning from Your Mistakes
Quit Complaining and Start Learning from Your Mistakes
by Adam Sicinski

Theodore Roosevelt :  "The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything."

The Benefits of Making Mistakes

On the surface, some mistakes might seem like the end of the world, however, below the surface they present you with the perfect opportunity to learn, to grow and to improve yourself.

Think back to all the mistakes you made in life and consider how they have strengthened your character and ability. Consider the plethora of skills that your mistakes have taught you, and also how they have shaped your knowledge, personality, your social development and your life experience.

Mistakes are valuable. However, for them to be of value, you must first see them as a beneficial and critical part of your life that you cannot avoid and must instead embrace with an open heart and open mind. Who knows, your biggest mistakes could end up turning into your most glorious victories, as long as you are open to learning and growing from the experience.

The Dangers of Dwelling on Mistakes

Often when mistakes are made, there is always a tendency to dwell upon them, to regret them, or to loath them. This is how many people instinctively respond to mistakes, however this shouldn’t be how you respond to mistakes.

Dwelling upon mistakes will diminish your self-confidence and your creative self-expression. It will affect your performance and productivity, and make you feel absolutely miserable. Moreover, when you dwell on mistakes this can trigger the habits of procrastination and perfectionism, as well as a plethora of emotions such as anger, stress, worry, fear and frustration. This is certainly no way to live. And considering that mistakes are actually a positive and transformative force in your life, you can see how many people have it all wrong.

This habit of dwelling pessimistically upon mistakes often stems back to your childhood when you were incorrectly taught to avoid making mistakes, or when you did make them your parents or guardians would most likely treat mistakes as a negative and unwanted part of life. Of course your experience might have been different, however in all likelihood mistakes weren’t viewed as a positive and beneficial part of growing up.

Making a Mistake

Admit Your Mistakes

You might have been conditioned during childhood to hide your mistakes so that nobody else could criticize, judge or embarrass you for making it. On the surface this might make you feel a little better. However, below the surface the mistake you made will eat you up with guilt.

More often than not, when you make a mistake, psychologically the best thing for you to do is to admit that you made the mistake and take full responsibility for resolving things. Not only will this gain you the respect of your peers, it will also give you peace of mind.

You made a mistake, and now you are responsible for fixing things and learning from your experience so that you can do better next time. This is how things should be. However, often people won’t admit their mistakes, and they certainly won’t learn from their experience. And as a result they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again until critical lessons are finally learned.

Be at Peace with Your Mistakes

Being at peace with your mistakes means that you are comfortable with your mistake and ready to learn what you can from your experience. However, in order to reach this place in your life, you must take to heart a few things.

First of all remember that the path to your goals is naturally riddled with mistakes; with errors of judgment; with unforeseen circumstances, and with miscalculated decisions. This is just a natural part of life. We’re not perfect, and that’s a fact. Nobody is perfect and everybody will make mistakes. They are what makes life interesting and fun. In fact, the bigger mistakes you end up making, the bigger the lessons you will learn, and the more you will grow as a result, which will provide you with a greater array of life experience and wisdom.

It is however important to remember that you are not your mistakes. Mistakes are what you do, and not who you are. You must not get this mixed up.

Secondly, when you make a mistake it’s important to realize that you are in fact making progress. Mistakes are not a step back, but rather a side-step that will help you to see the path ahead with greater clarity as you keep moving forward. They are there to help you, and to help balance you along your journey towards your desired outcomes.

Success is a result of ongoing failure and mistakes. Nobody has achieved anything worthwhile in this world without failing greatly and making a ridiculous amount of mistakes along the way. Your journey will be no different. Therefore be at peace with that, and accept that mistakes are simply a natural part of life.

How to Make a Mistake

Shift Your Perspective About Mistakes

Stop viewing mistakes as something that’s negative and hurtful. Instead, begin viewing mistakes as opportunities to reevaluate the path you are taking towards your goals.

Is it possible that a mistake could help you find a short-cut that you previously overlooked? Or maybe it’s possible it might allow you to learn an important skill that will be vital for your future as you make progress along your journey. In fact, if anything, mistakes are a perfect opportunity to grow stronger and more resilient.

Resilience is something that will help you to keep pushing forward despite the obstacles and setbacks in your way. And the more mistakes you make, the more resilient you will become, as long as you proactively learn from these mistakes and adapt your approach accordingly.

Mistakes are also opportunities to correct your behavior. Maybe what you’re doing isn’t going to work out long-term. Therefore the mistake you made today might very well alert you to this problem. Correct it, and you will be in a much more advantageous position in the future.

Mistakes present opportunities to analyze your decisions. Sometimes the decision you make might be out of line with the goals you want to achieve. A mistake will alert you to the fact that you are on the wrong path. Therefore use it to redirect yourself back onto the right path.

When you make mistakes, they do two things really well. For starters, they should indicate to you that you are in fact challenging yourself. Whenever you challenge yourself, this means that you’re growing and learning something new. Mistakes also indicate that there is room for improvement. And this is a very positive sign. If there was no room for growth or improvement, then what’s the point of doing anything at all. We would be where we want to be and life would be stagnant. Hope for improvement provides us with something to work towards — something to strive for that will reward us for our efforts.

Finally, you must come to understand that mistakes are simply a part of the learning process — they are forms of practice and training that we do on a daily basis in preparation for the attainment of our big objective.

Like a boxer who trains every day for a big fight, you are also training every day to achieve that big goal. And like a boxer you will get hit and fall down. In fact, you may even slip numerous times and fall flat on your face.

Yes, you made a mistake, but you also got up and kept moving forward. Your eyes are on the big goal, and not on the mistake you made in the moment. Yes, of course embrace the mistake and learn from it, but don’t let it discourage you from the big picture you are working towards.

Be Careful While Making Mistakes

When you make a mistake it’s important that you don’t fall into the trap of trying to justify your mistake. Mistakes must be embraced not justified or rationalized. Unless you take ownership of your mistakes, you will never truly learn the lessons you must master to move forward in this area of your life.

It’s also dangerous to ignore any mistakes you make. Your mistakes are like sign-posts that help angle you in the right direction. By ignoring these sign-posts, you are risking getting side-tracked. And the longer it takes you to realize this, the more effort it will eventually take to get yourself back on the right track in the future.

On the surface mistakes don’t feel good. As a kid you were probably taught that mistakes were bad, however as an adult you must never indulge in self-pity or by feeling regretful that you made a mistake. This kind of behavior is never helpful and will only hurt your growth and development in the long-term.

When you make a mistake, it’s critical that you refrain from blaming others and even blaming yourself for the mistake. Just take responsibility for it, do something about it, learn from it, and move on.

Finally, realize that you are absolutely wasting your time when you begin complaining about your mistake or making excuses for it. This defensive-minded behavior is natural for most people, however it cannot be natural for you. Quit complaining or making excuses. Instead, gain feedback about the mistake and make your own observations that will help you to learn from this experience to improve your decisions and actions in the future.

Understanding Mistakes

Learn from Mistakes

Mistakes should immediately indicate to you that something went wrong. As a result you must be ready and prepared to deal with this situation. However, most importantly you must be ready to learn from the situation in order to improve your choices, decisions and actions in the future. Here is a four step process that will allow you to thoroughly learn from the mistakes you make:

Step 1: Shift Your Perspective

Once a mistake is made, it’s critical that you immediately view it as an opportunity to strengthen your resolve. In fact, this is also a perfect time to ponder. Something obviously went wrong, and you must now not only come to understand what happened, but you must also fully appreciate and accept the situation you are in.

Take time to ponder upon your mistake and ask yourself:

    What did I want to do?

    What went wrong?

It’s important that you don’t exaggerate the circumstances by blowing the mistake out of proportion. Simply see it for what it is and approach it from a problem solving perspective.

At this time it’s also helpful to begin shifting your perspective about the mistake you just made to help spot potential opportunities that might now be available as a result of these unexpected events.

Ask yourself:

    How is this mistake helpful?

    What am I grateful for?

    What is the opportunity here?

Step 2: Explore What Went Wrong

The only way to work through a mistake is to gain a deep and thorough understand of what went wrong and how it might have potentially changed things.

Ask yourself:

    Where did I go wrong?

    What can I learn from this?

    What events led up to this mistake?

    How could the mistake have potentially been avoided?

    How has this mistake changed me?

    How has this mistake shaped how I think?

Step 3: Develop Plan of Action

Now that you have a good understanding of the mistake, it’s time to draw up a plan of action that outlines how you will do things differently in the future as a result of this mistake.

Ask yourself:

    What must I do differently?

    How would others approach this?

    How can I get started?

    How must I avoid repeating the same mistake again in the future?

Taking the time to reflect upon the answers to these questions will help you to gain valuable knowledge that may be absolutely indispensable as you make progress along your journey towards the attainment of your goals and objectives.

Step 4: Identify Skills and Resources

The final step of this process is to consider any additional skills or resources you might need moving forward that might help you to avoid or manage similar mistakes in the future far more effectively.

Ask yourself:

    What skills might be helpful to learn the next time I’m working through a similar mistake?

    What resources might be of value that will help me to handle similar mistakes in the future far more effectively?

Learning from a Mistake

Prepare for Future Mistakes

Because you now understandably accept the fact that mistakes are inevitable and unavoidable, it’s probably a good idea to think ahead into the future and begin preparing for mistakes in advance.

You won’t be able to avoid mistakes altogether, however when you do end up making them you can minimize their impact and also work through them in a far more efficient manner. Preparation is the key. Here are some ideas:

Use Solution Oriented Thinking

Solution oriented thinking means that you are constantly thinking a few steps ahead using foresight and considering all the different scenarios that may come about as you work towards your goals.

At the same time you’re also reflecting on past experiences and past mistakes using hindsight — making sure that you are bringing lessons from the past to help you in the present moment.

Take Risks

When you make mistakes you open yourself up to the opportunity of learning something new that will help you make deeper progress along your journey. However, to make a lot of mistakes, and to learn as much as you possibly can along your journey requires that you take plenty of risks and even make some bad decisions.

Without risk-taking you will most likely not make many mistakes, but you won’t grow either, and it’s this growth that you will need to help you learn the lessons necessary to attain your goals and objectives. Yes, of course, some of these risks will be a direct result of bad decisions. However, many bad decisions lead to experience, and it’s only through bad decisions that we come to understand what works or doesn’t work — which eventually leads to good decisions.

Fail Forward Fast

Making mistakes means that you’re walking a fine-line between success and failure. However, it’s often the people who have failed the most that are eventually rewarded with the greatest successes.

These people dared to fail — dared to fail forward fast by making as many mistakes as quickly as possible so that they could learn from their experience and adjust their actions accordingly. It is after all the person who learns the rules of how to play the game the quickest who has the greatest chance of winning in the end.

Be Open-Minded

When a mistake is made, it’s critical that you learn to stay open-minded and flexible in your approach. An open mind will expose you to potential opportunities that you might not have been aware of before.

A flexible approach will allow you to adapt at a moment’s notice to sudden mistakes that you weren’t expecting. Add on top of this a grateful heart, and you will have the ingredients you need that will help you to take full advantage of any mistakes that are made along your journey towards the attainment of your goals and objectives.

Preparing for Future Mistakes

Cultivate Optimism

Optimism is an absolute necessity when it comes to keeping yourself focused and motivated when mistakes are made. However, along with optimism you also need some courage to step into uncertainty; you need curiosity to ask the right kinds of questions that will help you get the answers you seek; you also need persistence and determination to fight through a variety of problems that may have sprung up as a result of your mistake; and you will need a little humor to get you through those tough moments when all appears lost and you can’t seem to find the answers to your problems.

Above all else, you will need to be self-reliant. This doesn’t mean that you can’t ask other people for help or assistance. What it does mean is that you are resourceful enough to find whatever it is you need to work through the mistakes you made in the most productive manner possible.

Create Plan of Action

To work through future mistakes far more effectively, it’s important that you create a plan of action that will help improve your ability to solve problems and to think more objectively and creatively. It is therefore critical that you consistently read books that will help you to solve problems and think more creatively. Creativity can take you a long way, and will help you to see things that others will never even imagine. In fact, a mistake can immediately be turned into an opportunity if you think about it in a unique way.

Also think ahead by developing a conscious plan of how you will respond to mistakes, and also how you will avoid repeating the same mistakes over again. This might sound very trivial. However, it’s absolutely critical that you take all of this under consideration because one day you will make a monumental mistake that will crush the life out of most people. However, because you were fully prepared and ready for the mistake, you are able to successfully work through it and turn the mistake into an opportunity to improve your circumstances for the better.

Video : Diana Laufenberg: How to learn From mistakes (TED Talk video)


Source : Don’t Fear Failure
Don’t Fear Failure : Nine Powerful Lessons We Can Learn From Our Mistakes

We have all heard the sayings “To err is human” and “you live and you learn”. We make mistakes every day, large and small, failures and faux pas. But failure and mistakes still don’t feel like an awesome learning opportunity. I know it is my shortcomings that make me unique and that I should embrace the stumbles and screw ups. But it is a challenge for me and a challenge for many of us. We live and act in ways to prevent mistakes — not taking risks, expanding our comfort zones or jumping outside the boxes we hide in. But our mistakes and failures are gifts, gems, guideposts in our learning and growth as people. So embrace failures, mistakes, screw ups and shortcomings because they not only make us uniquely who we are, but also teach us powerful lessons like the nine below.

1. Mistakes teach us to clarify what we really want and how we want to live. The word mistake derives meaning only by comparison to what we desire, what we see as success. Noticing and admitting our mistakes helps us get in touch with our commitments—what we really want to be, do, and have. Mistakes wake us up and focus our attention like a flashing sign that says “fix this”. The urgency created causes us to focus on issues or problems that make us feel off track. Working on possible solutions, redefining what we want or expect, or reexamining our values or goals can lead us to more clarity about our path.

2. Mistakes teach us to accept ourselves and that we can be flawed and be loved. We can fully appreciate ourselves, even while acknowledging our screw ups. It is possible to laugh at our mistakes and then work hard to correct them. Most of us have a long history of putting ourselves down when we blow it. But it’s a self-defeating habit we must break so that we can start appreciating ourselves, mistakes and all. People who love and care about us will stick with us through all our flaws and floundering. Our not so perfectness is what makes us unique and we are loved for it. So we should give ourselves a break.

3. Mistakes teach us to accept our fallibility and face our fear. Sometimes even our best efforts just don’t work out. We might do everything possible to achieve a certain result and still fail, again and again. When this happens we can admit that we’re stuck. Facing mistakes often takes us straight to the heart of our fears. And when we experience and face those fears, they can disappear. When we are stuck and admit that we can’t do it alone it sends a signal and opens the door for help to show up. People, resources, and solutions will appear, especially when we ask for help.

4. Mistakes teach us about ourselves and how to tell our truth. It is natural to want to cover up our mistakes or be embarrassed by them. To feel like we wish we had a handy mistake eraser or remover. But being honest about our failures and limitations offer us opportunities to practice telling the truth. Admitting the truth allows us to expand our knowledge of self-to know who we are. And thus, increases our capacity to change. It is like holding up a mirror to ourselves and really seeing. When we tell others about our mistakes, to let them really see us, it allows us to let go of the embarrassment, shame and blame we may feel so that we can concentrate on learning and growing.

5. Mistakes teach us, through analysis and feedback, about what works, and what doesn’t. It’s a reality check. When we experience the consequences of mistakes, we get a clear message about which of our efforts are working—and which are not. The feedback we get from our mistakes can be the most specific, pointed, and powerful feedback we’ll ever get. Many times we can trace mistakes to recurring patterns of belief or behavior—things we do, say, and think over and over again. When we spot and change a habit we may find that other areas of our lives change for the better. One way to gain maximum benefit from mistakes is to examine them through the filter of powerful questions: “How can I use this experience?”; “What will I do differently next time?”; “How will I be different in the future?” Questions like these lead to an inquiry that invites solutions.

6. Mistakes teach us to take responsibility. Sometimes our instinctive reaction to a mistake is to shift blame elsewhere: “It’s not my fault.” “You never told me about that,” Or the classic “I don’t see how this has anything to do with me.” It is more empowering to look for our role in the mistake. Taking responsibility for a failure may not be fun. But the act of doing so points out what we can do differently next time. Investigating our role reminds us that our choices and our actions have a huge influence on the quality of our lives.

7. Mistakes teach us about integrity. Mistakes often happen when we break promises, over-commit, agree to avoid conflict or fail to listen fully. Big mistakes often start as small errors. Over time, tiny choices that run counter to our values or goals can accumulate into breakdowns. Even our smallest choices have power, so it is important we pay attention to the integrity of the choices we make every day. Mistakes can be a signal that our words and our actions are out of alignment. In that case, we can re-examine our intentions, reconsider our commitments, and adjust our actions.

8. Mistakes teach us to engage in our lives — to live fully. We are not our behaviors and we are more than our mistakes. We can remember that our history does not have to predict our future. And then remember that we have an opportunity to go all in—to participate fully. Many people, when faced with a big mistake, begin to pull back—to retreat. Instead, we can use the failure as evidence that we are growing, risking, and stretching to meet our potential. Mistakes help us to remember that we are not content to play it safe. That we understand that without risk there is sometimes no reward.

9. Mistakes allow us to inspire others. They may be inspired when we are courageous and make our private struggles public. They might decide to live differently. When a lifelong smoker who’s dying of emphysema talks about the value of being smoke-free, we’re apt to listen. The same kind of contribution also occurs when we speak candidly about less serious mistakes. As parents we can teach our children that it is OK to fail because we are willing to let them see our failures and mistakes. This gives us opportunities to talk through what we could or would have done differently. These are powerful lessons for those around us.


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