Mistakes as Learning Opportunities, Not Failures

One thing I know for sure is that we all make mistakes on a daily basis.  Not all of these errors are major; it can be as simple as missing a deadline at work or pulling out in front of someone while driving.  Regardless of the severity, mistakes actually are learning opportunities to help us not make them, again but they also can help us uncover more about ourselves.

I find that most people look at their mistakes equating to some form of failure, which somehow leading them to believe that they are a failure.  It all depends on your perspectives for how you view whatever error, faux-pas, or other term you give to mistakes you make.  If your outlook is such that you are optimistic, i.e. the ‘glass half full,’ these events will not lead to feelings of major upset or despair as they do with the person whose outlook is ‘glass half-empty.’  These types of people often feel as if these types of events or situations are done to them and they are more prone to making more of them.  Eventually, they feel like a victim of circumstances.

Years ago, I used to say that Murphy’s Law  was made for me; Murphy’s Law, by the way, states that ‘if anything bad will happen , it will.’  It was only after I made the decision to stop the madness that my life turned around.  Here are my suggestions to turn your mistakes into learning opportunities and move forward:

  • I made the decision to review areas that I erred in my decisions  and to look at them from all perspectives:  what was the circumstance I was facing; what were my options; how did I make the decision to proceed as I did and what influences were involved; did I look at the consequences of my actions; and did I get advice, either taking it or ignoring the advice given. This assessment allowed me to really understand areas that I may have not been as insightful or thinking in going on the path that led to the mistake.
  • Armed with these answers, I then further looked at the alternatives of those thoughts, decision and actions and compared them with how I would make them now; we ‘grow’ minute-by-minute so a decision we make now might not be the we would again in a short period of time.  I needed to look at my frame of thought or any fears that might have been in the way; I had to also look to see if I had enough information to make a good decision to act on or if others were influential  (did I go with the crowd).   This information now allowed me to identify patterns or habits that I could now correct or amend.
  • Finally, I asked myself what I could learn from my past poor situations and then replayed them in my current mind-frame to now ‘see’ newer and more positive results.  Remember that our visual field is very powerful in positively altering our thoughts and feelings so using it helped me to create new outcomes.

That is how I turned my past mistakes into learning opportunities; taking personal responsibility for my actions also helped to not feel victimized by these situations which allowed me to view – and appreciate – them as part of my life experiences.  Now, when faced with any new situations, I am now armed with the forethought and confidence to move in the ‘right’ direction.   I encourage you to go review any mistakes you’ve made and turn them into positive learning experiences so you will, as the saying goes, ‘Go boldly in the direction of your dreams!’


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