Learning from your mistakes

Making mistakes can actually be good for you.  The other day I acted without thinking and said something in a very poor manner.  I made a mistake.  I apologised however still felt bad about it.  After thinking about it for a while however I realised that making the mistake actually has some positives.  Mistakes are an opportunity to learn many things.  Observing mistakes is no substitute for experiencing mistakes.

In todays world we are increasingly trying to organise our work flow so as to be fault proof.  What we should be doing is making sure we are fault tolerant

Now this obviosuly needs to be applied within reason.  There are some areas,  especially when peoples lives are concerned,  where you definately don’t want to make mistakes.  For a lot of our other processes and work flows however there can be gains to be made in not striving for fault proof.  As the saying goes:

No system is fool proof to a talented fool

No matter what you do,  no matter how careful you are,  mistakes will be made.   You also don’t want to fall into the trap of letting fear of making a mistake trap you in a world where you are not willing to take any risks.  To do this is to miss out on so much potential.

Whenever you make a mistake the first thing you should do is admit that you made a mistake.  To yourself and to others.  Then you should take the necessary steps to rectify the mistake.  Then you should reflect on what happened and why.  Often times making a mistake is trivial compared to how you went about dealing with it. As I have talked about in another post,  it’s all about the process,  the results will follow.

This is an opportunity to discover boundaries. Many mistakes will allow us to discover where certain boundaries lie.  Eg.  in the mistake I made I have learnt about arguing a point too far.

It is an opportunity to learn about character traits. Mistakes tend to bring out the best and worst in people.  Characteristics that you may not otherwise get to experience.  Eg.  in the mistake I made I learnt that passion can get the best of me sometimes.   I now know to be wary of this in the future.  I also got to experience someone retaliating in a controlled manner and someone else retaliating in an uncontrolled manner.  Both of which I have learnt from.  I have talked about this more in another post on analysing yourself and observing others.

It is an opportunity to learn Why? Why things need to be done a certain way.  Why people behave in a certain way.  Why you use a certain product over another one.  Why a certain person is the leader.  etc.  Understanding these things through direct experience is much more powerful than merely being told them.

They are opportunities to realise that life goes on.  No matter what happens the world will continue on it’s way.  If you have learnt from the mistake you are now a better person for it. Could you have learnt those same lessons without the mistake?

The ramifications of the mistakes you make will normally be short lived.  The experiences and lessons you learn however should make you a better person and enhance your life for a long time after.  So don’t let fear and the possibility of mistakes hold you back.  Embrace them and know that they are all leading to a better you.

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