ATI-Mirage Blog

How making mistakes can be a good thing

Posted by Kathi Rogers | Learning & Development Consultant on 25 July 2019.


Ever made a mistake? How did it make you feel? Were you sad, annoyed, disappointed, guilty, anxious, frustrated, angry? Did you direct those emotions towards yourself?

If you said yes to any of those questions, this blog is written for you. We want to share with you how making mistakes can be a good thing and steer you away from those negative thought patterns.

If you’ve ever felt bad about making a mistake or beaten yourself up emotionally with the voice in your head for “being so stupid” you’re not alone. We all have experiences from when we were growing up that mistakes are considered bad. We may have been told this by our parents, our teachers, our siblings or our friends. Even in the world today with the influence of social media, we are shown that perfect is good and mistakes are bad. Or if we are ‘perfectionists’ we can feel a sense of shame when a mistake or miscalculation is made. 

Having this thought pattern can be very destructive to how you see the world. It can lead to all sorts of stress on your body, and relationships with others around you. We can often dwell on the things we did wrong, rather than focusing on what we do right.

Mistakes are what they are, mistakes.They are events which end up differently to how we planned. Feeling badly about them, won’t change the outcome. Having an emotional response to a situation is natural. When we let negative thoughts to continue after the fact, it can impact our mindset and behaviours and, our self-esteem.

There is a huge amount of value we can learn from mistakes. Without mistakes how can we ever grow, or learn? Sometimes a mistake shows us what not to do. Mistakes can open creative ways to solve problems. If you focus on the lesson in the mistakes it allows you to make learning and improvement possible. Sometimes this even leads up to an even better outcome – something to celebrate!

For example, post it notes were created because of a mistake.The adhesive was meant to be strong for a different product so it was considered a failure until another use was found for it and post it notes were created and became a great success story!

So, what do we do the next time we make a mistake?

  • Firstly take a breath – Just pause for a moment and know that mixed emotions are about to make an appearance. This will bring awareness to how you’re feeling.
  • Take a step back from the situation – Look at the facts objectively. It’s easy to catastrophise the outcome, making things feel worse than they are.  Being objective allows you to stop those negative thought loops and focus on what has actually happened.
  • Consider your options – What actions can you take next? Who can you talk to for advice? What other information is available to you?  Can you look at it from another angle and see an opportunity?
  • Take steps to rectify the mistake, from a place of integrity.
  • Learn from the experience – use this mistake to propel your knowledge of the situation. Share your learning with other people. Allow your experiences to be good memories of a time when you experienced something valuable.

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” John Powell

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