No one likes making mistakes, and it's natural. When we're young, mistakes were a no-no and simply couldn't be accepted. As we became adults the feeling of apprehension associated with making mistakes remained with us and became seared into our psyche. But failure can be instructive and we don't need to shield ourselves from it. Those who can embrace screw ups can find a substantial foundation and find tremendous personal growth. There is always some gem found in a mistake or what is deemed the end of the road for some. Joseph of the Bible messed up and discovered humility through his error. Joseph had a dream of ruling over his family at the age of 17. As the story goes, he prematurely told his brothers about the dream and advised they would surrender to him. Although it was true, Joseph's immaturity led him being traded into slavery by his siblings. Eventually, he became the ruler over Israel and showed us it's possible to rise above our oversights if we move on. We may not become king of a country, but we can take cues from the gaffes we make in life. Here are 6 ways to learn from your mistakes.
They wake us up.Our missteps make us pay more attention and show us we need to fix something that's amiss whether it's in our personal life or in our career. However, focusing on the problem will keep us in a place of hopelessness. Maybe you became complacent and your mindset about your career is negative. Go back and see where you went wrong or where you felt demoralized. Usually, we can find the mistakes of a poor decision or something else get in the way. Once you can identify the error start focusing on a solution like overhauling business skills, learning to take on projects with a fresh intensity or changing career paths. It’s okay to have lapses in the way we act. But by making mistakes you will have more precision and look at life from another perspective.
Know it doesn't define you.Many of us put ourselves down when we make a mistake. Don’t make it your identity. Separate failure from you as a person. "Guilt can be very direct or indirect," said Alice Ann Holland, Ph.D., a Dallas neuropsychologist explained to prevention.com. Enveloping yourself with feelings of self-hatred and guilt for an extended time will keep you suspended. However, freeing yourself by not allowing mistakes to own you will help you achieve independence. Obsessing over a mistake will not change the outcome, it will incapacitate a person from pushing forward. You need to come to terms with mistakes and say "I’m not going to let this defeat me" or "I’m moving on with my life and pushing forth.”
It makes you face yourself.You must be willing to call yourself out after making a mistake. We can shift the blame and it feels good, but being in denial ties you up with anger. You need to allow your emotions to have a release and admit you were wrong. We can become exhausted from the unconscious hostility and resentment when we hold onto the animosity. Psychology Today shared: "The belief that you are entitled to fairness results from the mistaken idea that you are special." Mistakes could signal something is misaligned in our lives and if our anger is getting in the way, it's time to let it go and let go of the anger over making the mistake.
It allows you to encourage others.We mentioned about being honest with yourself, but admitting your mistakes to another person encourages people who are having difficulties with their own mistakes. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times while he was inventing the light bulb and his mistake inspired many people to become inventors. "I have found 10,000 ways something won’t work. I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward." Look at television mogul Oprah Winfrey who shares regularly about her struggle in the beginning of her career and the mistakes she made. She said: “Learn from every mistake, because of every experience and encounter, particularly your mistakes, are there to teach you and force you into being more of who you are.” Your mistakes can make people want to live better and encourage them it's okay to fail in the process.
It teaches a lesson.Take a step back and look at the bigger picture because when we're looking too closely at something, we miss the details sometimes. There is always something of value to be extracted from a mistake. Maybe you abused your health and learned it's time to start living a healthier lifestyle. Another mistake could be you made work more relevant than your family and now you regret it. Failure helps bring you back to reality and allows you to become more grounded. If you want to make room for happiness, find the lesson and correct your course. Sometimes we need to force ourselves to walk away from things that no longer serve us. This may even re-inspire you to move on and perhaps make peace with yourself.
Stop complaining.Let your frustrations out, but stop complaining about your mistakes. Dwelling upon mistakes will strip all creativity and confidence. The more you complain about mishaps the more you won't be freed from the trap of perfectionism. Try complaining for a while and watch your happiness tank, it's not worth it. Instead, list what is good in your life on paper and see your mood shift for the better.
Mistakes don't have to own you or make life an ever evolving crisis. You can become stronger, better and learn we all need to take responsibility for our choices. Once you learn to embrace your mistakes with balance and reverence, they can be used as a stepping stone to a more insightful life.