There are a lot of valuable lessons that can be learned from mistakes. A very negative experience can be turned into a positive one if the right steps are taken. Anybody can tell you the valuable lessons they learned from their own mistakes but it is so much more powerful to draw your own conclusions from your mistakes. But, how can really learn from our mistakes? Let’s get to it!
1. We Can Determine Our Skill Levels
When we make certain mistakes, it can really show us a lot about our skill levels in that area. It can also help us point to what we need to work on. For example: While you might be a very talented writer, you may have dropped the ball when it comes to citing sources, causing an article to really miss the mark and perhaps even, get ridiculed. From this mistake, you can see that you need to improve your citing skills.
2. Causes Us To Ask The Right Questions
I always say, that no question is a stupid question. Cliche, I know, but, for the most part, incredibly true. However, asking the right questions can point us in a direction we didn’t even know we needed to go.
When one makes a mistake, the first thing that should be done is asking yourself questions. Questions like – “Where did I go wrong?” – “What can I do to improve?” – “What areas, specifically, do I need to focus on?”
In finding the answers to these types of questions, we can learn a lot of valuable knowledge from our mistakes.
ALWAYS question yourself when you make mistakes. Have that internal dialogue. You will learn a lot about how the mistake itself happened and also, about yourself.
3. Can Promote Experimentation
There are many different ways of doing things in basically all areas. One person may flourish when doing things “X” way while another person may excel by doing it the “Y” way.
Mistakes prompt us to experiment with different ways of doing things. This can point us to our own personal rhythm when it comes to specific tasks. While you may have believed that doing things the “X” way was best suited to you, it may in fact be the “Y” way that you excel at it.
Experimenting with various ways of doing things can open up a ton of possibilities. You see what does work for you compared to what doesn’t. This helps you find your best way of doing a specific task and that is a valuable lesson that one can take with them following a mistake.
4. Can Reveal a Problem
A problem may exist that you haven’t even considered. Perhaps, making a mistake can point you towards that problem so that it can be rectified.
5. If Nothing Else, You Won’t Make the Same Mistake Again
If nothing else can be taken away from a mistake, it definitely highlights what NOT to do. This is powerful in itself as it reveals the process of trial and error. While I do believe that multiple things can be learned from almost every mistake we make, if nothing else, you won’t be making that mistake again.
6. Teaches Personal Accountability
You get nowhere by blaming your mistakes on other people. Seriously, it’s a victim mentality and it gets you absolutely nowhere. Learning personal accountability can be incredibly powerful. You have to own up to your mistakes, (in everything), before any positive change can be made. And, that “owning up” will help you hold yourself accountable for what you did wrong, how you can do better in the future, and so on.
7. Allows You to Put Your Mistake Under a Microscope & Create a Better Way
There are a lot of learning moments in mistakes. You can really put that mistake under a microscope. When you do that, you can learn so much about yourself, the way you do things, and how you can strive to do better next time.
You can examine things like:
- What was I thinking when I took “X” step?
- What did I want to happen?
- What was I trying to avoid?
- Did I listen to the right sources?
- At what moment did it go wrong?
- What led up to this mistake?
By examining these questions and analyzing exactly what happened – you can learn so much. You can see what led up to the mistake and how to avoid making another one. It can also show you a lot about yourself. Maybe you rushed. Perhaps there were emotional factors that contributed to the mistake.
We’re Only Human. We’re all going to make mistakes.
It’s important to not beat yourself up too bad when you make a mistake, especially one that can be corrected and, or learned from. We are all human. We are going to make mistakes – fail, fall down. But, that doesn’t mean we cannot learn valuable lessons from those mistakes. Knowledge is power and there is knowledge in mistakes if you are willing to put in the work.