“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.”
Yesterday I shared with you my concern about two friends who have had some really bad luck that has culminated in their having difficulty putting the past behind them. As I reflected on their plight I realized that I sometime found myself bogged down due to a mistake I had made and let me tell you I made some doozies. Fortunately I learned later in life that mistakes happen to us all and that they are seldom as bad as we imagine them to be. But even if a self-made mistake is a whopper what done is done. Fortunately the recognition of our mistakes often provides us a learning experience that we can use as we move ahead in our lives.
Here is a slightly edited version of an article written by Elizabeth Scott, M.S., that can help us to turn mistakes into benefits.
Learn from Your Mistakes, Or They’re A Waste
One of the best ways to relieve stress is to learn from your mistakes. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find the balance between seeing too many things as someone else’s fault and seeing too many things as your fault. There’s no easy answer on how to learn from your mistakes that will work every time, however, there are some strategies you can use to learn from your mistakes that will work in various situations most of the time. When you’re trying to learn from your mistakes, consider the following:
Reframe Your Mistakes — First, use reframing to stop thinking of your mistakes as failures. They can be more accurately described as opportunities for learning—people generally learn more from mistakes than they learn from successes. With each mistake, you can learn valuable information that can be used for future success.
Be Forgiving — Next, maintain perspective and don’t take mistakes too seriously. Blaming others for our mistakes can be a defense mechanism for those who are harsh with ourselves when we mess up—we stay in denial because we can’t take our own harsh self-condemnation. Be forgiving. Just changing your outlook on this can make it less threatening to recognize when you’re responsible or partially responsible for things going other than you’d planned.
See What You Can Change — Rather than thinking of who is more responsible for a situation—you or another person—look at the situation as a whole in terms of what you can change. If you view taking responsibility through the lens of personal control—what can you change next time, what do you have control over?—makes it an empowering experience to learn from your mistakes.
Look Beyond — Look at other sides of the same situation. How do different people in the situation feel. How might things have gone differently if you’d made different choices? Look at the situation in different ways. Play with it. And see what you can learn for next time.
Ask Questions — Ask for impartial opinions. Have a few trusted friends who will tell you the truth, and who can see things from both sides, and ask them what they see. Sometimes we’re too close to a situation to make sense of it at first, but an observer who isn’t so emotionally attached, and who can deliver their opinion with love and tact, is what we need to help us learn from our mistakes.
Pat Yourself On The Back — Congratulate yourself for whatever growth you’ve gained from dealing with each difficult situation you encounter and each mistake you make. Remember that these things add value to life as much as the more pleasant experiences we all value. And be glad that you always have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes in one way or another.
“Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future.”
I’d had enough of my employees abusing their allotted break time. In an effort to clarify my position, I posted a sign on the bulletin board: “Starting immediately, your 15-minute breaks are being cut from a half-hour to 20 minutes.”
I wouldn’t touch the Metric System with a 3.048m pole.
I was listening to a lady who called a radio pastor. The pastor was a wise, grandfatherly gentleman who has that calm reassuring voice that can melt all fear. The lady, who was obviously crying, said, “Pastor, I was born blind, and I’ve been blind all my life. I don’t mind being blind but I have some well meaning friends who tell me that if I had more faith I could be healed.”
The pastor asked her, “Tell me, do you carry one of those white canes?”
“Yes I do,” she replied.
“Then the next time someone says that hit them over the head with the cane,” He said. “Then tell them ‘If you had more faith that wouldn’t hurt!'”
“As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.”
Vincent Van Gogh
An eccentric philosophy professor gave a one question final exam after a semester dealing with a broad array of topics.
The class was already seated and ready to go when the professor picked up his chair, plopped it on top of his desk and wrote on the board:
“Using everything we have learned this semester, prove that this chair does not exist.”
Fingers flew, erasers erased, notebooks were filled in furious fashion.
Some students wrote over 30 pages in one hour attempting to refute the existence of the chair.
One member of the class however, was up and finished in less than a minute.
Weeks later when the grades were posted, the rest of the group wondered how he could have gotten an “A”” when he had barely written anything at all.
His answer consisted of two words:
“A person becomes wise by reflecting on what happened to him when he wasn’t.”
While visiting a friend who was in the hospital, I noticed several pretty nurses, each of whom was wearing a pin designed to look like an apple.
I asked one nurse what the pin signified.
“Nothing,” she said with a smile. “It’s just to keep the doctors away.”
In high school, I was voted the girl most likely to become a nun. That may not be impressive to you, but it was quite an accomplishment at the Hebrew Academy.
The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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