Sure, some of you might already think "Is there even such a thing as a mistake?" Well, I can assure you, there is. You can call it an unfortunate event/happening/misunderstanding, a weak moment, or even simply a wrong decision. It really doesn’t change the fact that we’ve done something that we might have reconsidered before we’d done it. And you know what? That’s absolutely wonderful! Congratulations! You’ve made a mistake! Let’s see what great things you can do with it!
- Grow from it Making mistakes goes hand in hand with receiving constructive feedback. Both are your best friends that might stab you right in the heart, but they are your movers and true blessings. Do you remember the teachers whom you struggled with the most back in school? They always wrote the hardest exams and seemed to never just want to give out A’s to students. We’ve all had at least one of them. Then there were the easy ones, always funny, letting you do anything you wanted, didn’t really challenge you in order to get a good grade. So which of those do you remember and think fondly of the most today? Probably the teacher who challenged you, who made you study harder, and who helped you reach your potential by struggling and stretching your limits and usual thinking, right? It’s funny, but those teachers never really leave you. They are always there throughout the biggest challenging project we all have to work on: our lives. Only the teachers in this project come in different forms for each one of us – they may be in form of spiritual leaders, belief in the Law of Attraction, God, or any other power you believe in. They’re always on our side; however, they’re mute like the school teachers during an exam. We all have to figure it out ourselves, but that’s exactly what makes us grow, bend, and in the end even prouder when we’ve accomplished something or got up after a setback again on our own.
- Self-reflect and start moving How many times have you been very sure about something that you really wanted and thought this is the one and only way/person/job/hobby in this world that would make you happy? How many times has this actually worked out for you entirely? If it has, then great! However, if not, it has probably led you to something different, perhaps even better. As the Dalai Lama said so beautifully, Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. This is and has been true for me in so many ways and so many times in my life. So, get back to work again. Life has its ups and downs. Think about your setback or misstep like a pair of pants that you’ve tried on but they didn’t quite fit. It happens to every one of us. So just try on another pair that could fit better. It might be a different size, but the style and color will most likely be the same.
- Make a change Have you ever cut yourself some slack and thought about the purpose of your behavior in the moment you’ve made a mistake? As I wrote about before, I do not necessarily believe in cause and effect of behavior, but rather in the purpose of it. For example, if you’ve been to a job interview and didn’t do well, it could have been a lack of preparation on your side or simply no chemistry between you and the interviewer. Well, yes, sounds like a cause; however, think again: why didn’t you prepare more? Or try harder to link with the interviewer? Sometimes the purpose could be to stay in your situation of feeling sorry for yourself that you don’t find a job, getting attention from your friends and family in that way. Or perhaps you want to stay on the job hunt and remain flexible for other options. Whatever it may be, try to analyze your purposes, watch your motives, and change the route you’re on. It’s never too late.
- Phew! You’re human! You know, the best thing about making a mistake is that it brings you closer to people around you. During my professional experience, or my internships in a private practice and a big bank in the U.S., I noticed something repeatedly. We are all in the same boat. No doubt about that. Just read some biographies of big business or inspirational leaders, philosophers, etc. They all have one thing in common in one way or another – failure. They’ve made mistakes, got up again, and (ideally) learned from them. They simply changed or adjusted their approach, but barely questioned themselves or beat themselves up for it. Actually, the opposite is true. They shared their lessons learned with us, and helped us to forgive ourselves, have the courage to be imperfect, and motivated us to keep going. Many business schools or leadership programs use almost exclusively business cases where they analyze mistakes that others made and think about what they would’ve done differently. Why? Because trial and error is one of the best ways to learn. So, tell me, what’s actually not to like about making a mistake? The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them. Bernard Baruch