Friday, November 16, 2012

We all make Mistakes ...the key is to learn from them!

"I'd rather have a life full of mistakes than a heart full of regrets." ~Unknown

Mistakes.....we all make them, but what can we learn from them to enrich our lives?

As human beings, we all have intelligence and in our daily lives we usually make decisions that are rational, sound and well thought out.

However, it is inevitable that due to rushing, lack of experience or just plain 'ol brain fade we do something that afterwards, turned out to be the wrong decision, the wrong choice, the wrong way, and guess what?  We realize we've  made a mistake!


People will react to this realization in different ways. and  many try to explain it off....they blame an interruption, bad information, a co-worker, their spouse, kids, dog....you get the picture--there are a millions ways to attempt to justify or create an excuse as to why a mistake was made...regardless, there are 3 things one should strive to do when they realize it has happened to them.

#1:   Always own up to your mistakes.  At work, if your mistake affects your performance or your company's performance, own up to it and devise a plan to resolve or minimize it.   Everyone makes mistakes and nobody appreciates or respects those that blame others or circumstances on their bad decision or action.  On the other hand, everybody can relate to a mistake because its happened to them!

#2:   Learn from your mistakes.  OK, you know you've made one, now what?  Can it be fixed or minimized?  If so, how?  Spend some time thinking about the situation honestly, do a self-appraisal, and make a mental note as to why it occurred and what you will do differently next time a similar decision needs to be made.  This involves some frank honesty with yourself as well as some humility, but done right it will make you a better decision maker!

#3     Work hard not to repeat your mistakes.  See #2--it's all about training yourself to become more effective with experience and get that internal radar to kick in when a mistake is about to happen.  Training yourself will take thought and discipline, but the alternative is to repeat the mistakes again and again......  There is a saying that one cannot expect a different outcome from applying the same approach to solving a problem or situation....it is so true, but it is amazing how many never learn from experience!  You have to train yourself to think differently so that the desired outcome,  which of course is no more mistakes, occurs.

When others that own up to mistakes come to you, don't be too critical...help guide them through the above steps, and emphasize that you believe in them and their abilities and know they'll make the right decision next time!  People many times are much more sensitive than they let on and will appreciate you more for being reasonable and helpful to them in dealing with the dilemma at hand.


We all need to realize as humans that mistakes are a natural part of the learning curve, and since we are always learning, it is inevitable they will happen to each of us. 

We should not be afraid of making mistakes..they are a vital part of learning and gaining experience -- However,  it's how they are dealt with once they are made that determines the level of success one achieves in life.  Fear of making a mistake will limit the ability and effectiveness of a person, and they will have lost many opportunities in life if they feed that fear!

Not all mistakes have a bad ending...... conversely they teach us how to become a better person, a better decision maker and sometimes the end result is that  mistake  changes the world!

Consider this --  super glue, Champagne, Coca Cola, Teflon, Penicillin, Dry Cleaning, Potato Chips and the adhesive for  Post it Notes are all product examples of accidents or mistakes by their inventor!