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How to Learn From Your Mistakes

Posted on the 15 January 2014 by Stacie Walker Stacie @staciewalker

We all make mistakes, but that doesn’t make the sting hurt any less. Do you prefer not to repeatedly learn things the hard way? We’re with you. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and always remember each mistake, whether simple and silly or complex, has a lesson – or three – to be learned.

Try to change your mindset and see this as an opportunity for personal growth and development, allowing you to achieve overall personal betterment. Below is some advice for how to learn from your mistakes the first time.

Admit It – and Own It

First, it’s important to admit you made the mistake in the first place – publicly or privately. This means not blaming others or making excuses; simply take responsibility and ownership for your actions. Only when you own up to your mistakes real growth begin.

Get to the Core of It

Once you’ve owned up to the mistake, do some reflecting on why and how it happened. Don’t make it a bigger deal than it needs to be, and don’t allow yourself to dwell for too long, but dig deep in order to fully understand your thought process and rationale for making the decision you did. Can’t get to the bottom of it? Ask trusted contacts to help shed some light on the situation – sometimes an outsider’s view can help attack it from a different angle.

Make it Right

Have you ever heard the saying “It’s only a mistake if you can’t fix it”? Now that you understand the why, work on fixing what you can by being a part of the solution. This will show your contrition, as well as your competency and self-ownership. Plus, it’s highly respectable. Begin with an apology where applicable, and then begin the work to repair what was broken. Patience can be of the upmost importance in this case, but if you’re truly dedicated to making it right, you’ll stick with it and prove yourself.

Go Easy on Yourself

While it’s important to own up to the problem, it’s also important to not lose sight of some simple, irreversible facts: You are human, humans make mistakes and it’s not the end of the world. Being hard on yourself does not teach a more valuable lesson or guarantee better results. Self-criticism rarely works, whereas self-compassion can bring healing. Promise to stop self-perpetuating the stress, and instead, work on taking a deep breath and keeping it in perspective.

Give the Other Party Some Time

If someone else is involved and was affected by this mistake, remember they need time, too. After apologizing, respect his or her time and space while the dust settles.

Try a New Approach

The problem gets worse if you keep repeating the same mistakes, so it’s important to recognize such patterns and do what you can to squash them. This is where you put all your learnings into practice and make decisions based on what you know is right.

These steps are applicable in every relationship and situation, personal and professional alike. Do you feel like you’re consistent in applying them to your life, and that they’ve helped you make better decisions along the way? You might consider getting your bachelor’s degree in management, where you can put those skills to work as a leader in fields like brand managers, sales professionals and a variety of management positions. The lessons you’ve learned over the years, and the learnings you’ve applied to your life, can help teach younger generations how to gracefully recover from a mistake, using it as a springboard for further learning and personal character development.


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