Do you know why you keep making mistakes? Let’s look at the science and art of making mistakes to improve ourselves.
Failure and mistakes seem to be a common reason for us to give up learning a new skill. They can discourage us and sometimes negatively affect the very image we have of ourselves. The reality, however, is that the only reason we fail and make mistakes is because they are a natural part of the learning process. In other words, we make mistakes because we are supposed to.
When we accept so-called failures and mistakes as part of learning any skill and as opportunities to improve, they stop being damaging. They become crucial to finding the adjustments we need to make in order to achieve our goals. Think of anything you learned to do in your life, most likely you didn’t get it right the first time, but through practice and dedication you eventually succeeded.
High achievers see failures and mistakes as feedback and as temporary challenges to be overcome, not as a reflection of who they are. Their Success is the result of moving from challenge to challenge without losing motivation. Adversity is not reason enough for high achievers to not get what they want.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying” – Michael Jordan
We shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes. Success comes from taking action and course correcting not from trying to make perfect choices, which usually leads to delays and procrastination instead. The pursuit of our goals and development of our skills can follow this principle, we don’t need to be perfect all the time and make no single mistake (in fact, that’s impossible), but we can use those mistakes to correct our course, calibrate and keep moving forward.
When we are afraid of making mistakes we become anxious, our muscles tighten up and our mind gets cloudy, limiting the resources we need to succeed. The first step then is to not be afraid of making mistakes. They will still happen, but by not being afraid of them we’ll increase our chances of success.
I know making mistakes is not fun, I am not saying you should love them, you can hate them as much as you want, just don’t fear them, accept them as part of getting better. Whenever you make a mistake, which will inevitably happen, try focusing on the lessons you can get from it. Think how to correct the mistake instead of dwelling on it and replaying it over and over in your head. Ask yourself what do you need to do different, what needs to be improved -that way you’ll get the most value out of your mistakes.
“The mistakes of great men are superior to the successes of lesser men”
– Friedrich Nietzsche