“To err is human…”
We have all heard that quote, stated by 17th century poet Alexander Pope. He finishes the line by stating “but to forgive is divine”. Another good way to end that statement is to assert that to error is human… but to grow from your mistakes is the definition of success.
We all make mistakes. The sooner you accept this intricate part of human nature, the happier you will be and the more capable you will be to handle mistakes when they happen. Mistakes are how we learn, grow and evolve. Some mistakes are so small that we don’t realize we have made a mistake until we look behind us. Other mistakes are so large that they become defining moments in our lives that stay with us and shape who we are as a person. Large or small, mistakes happen all the time – every single day, to every single person. No human being is or will ever be perfect.
Mistakes are how we move forward in life. They compel us to make changes in our lives – some good and some bad. We base our future choices on the mistakes we have made in the past. What we learned, or in many cases failed to learn, from those mistakes are what will determine how our future choices turn out. Will we be foolish and stick our hand into the fire again or will we have learned to use a stick?
Making mistakes is an artform.
When we make a mistake, it is our common practice to react negatively. Some of us react with anger – anger that can be directed towards others or towards ourselves. Some of us react by passing the blame to other people or to our own self-accepted ignorance. Others react by becoming lost, heart sick and wallowing in our own self pity. The true way to overcome our mistakes and turn our mistakes into actual successes is to react positively.
Reacting positively to a mistake is not as easy as it sounds. We have, as a society, been ingrained with the belief that mistakes are a very bad thing. We shun those who make mistakes, like turning to alcoholism or squandering our finances, and we chide ourselves when we make mistakes. Some of us become so caught up in the “mistakes are negative” dogma that we blindly refuse to see when we make them. Its time to learn a new mindset about making mistakes.
Mistakes are a good thing!
So how do we learn to change our negative mindset towards mistakes into a positive one? Here are 5 simple steps you can use to help you do that!
The next time you make a mistake, large or small:
- Pause and take 10 deep breaths
- Accept that you have made a mistake. Say out loud to yourself or tell a friend that you have made a mistake. Voicing your acceptance makes it real.
- Look at your mistake openly and objectively. What happened? What went wrong? What went right? What could I have done differently?
- Evaluate what you have learned and say it out loud or write it down. This helps to imprint the lesson learned in your mind so you are less likely to make the same mistake in the future.
- Correct the mistake. The art of reacting positively to a mistake is making the effort to over come it, correct it and turn it into a success.