Basic Rules For Dealing With Mistakes

This early morning has brought with it another perspective on mistakes. Mistakes come in different forms. Some are small, some are catastrophic, some impact only ourselves, some impact others, some are made in a second, others are made over many years, some take a minute to correct, others require long-term commitment. Following are some of my ways of dealing with mistakes.

Listen and get the message. I make mistakes all the time. If you are like me, you do not always recognize your mistakes immediately. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes days, weeks, or in some cases much longer until something new is learned and the past mistake is recognized. Sometimes by the time the mistake is recognized, it is too late to easily correct it but often there is still time to recover. People who care enough often message when they see a mistake in making. You can only get the message if you listen continuously because the way, the place, the time, and the content of the message may not be obvious.

Observe and analyze. Generally, I observe and analyze others to learn from their mistakes. This includes fictional and historical characters. This approach has helped me avoid making similar mistakes myself. However, it requires that you get to know the issue intimately and not rush to judgement because most details are invisible initially. You can also apply lessons from mistakes made in one arena to another arena. However, you must focus on constant observation and analysis of everything that takes place around you.

Avoid making mistakes. I’ve heard people say that we must make mistakes often so we can learn. I do not believe in this. Avoiding mistakes is more important in my opinion than making them and learning because when you consciously avoid a mistake you have already learned the lesson. Also, this frees you up to proceed with other plans instead of correcting a mistake. “Measure twice, cut once” is an example of what I mean. Furthermore, avoiding catastrophic mistakes or mistakes that affect others is critical. You must exercise a healthy mind at all times, but especially at times of great responsibility, great upheaval, great pleasure, and other times when you may be more vulnerable.

Correct as soon as possible. Once you recognize a mistake, it is important that you correct it right away, keep the lesson in your mind and leave the rest to history. I say this because I’ve seen people dwell on a mistake for a long time failing to recover and move on. We cannot effectively think about many issues all at once. Therefore, moving on is required for avoiding new mistakes. Correcting your mistakes will not only cement their lessons in your mind, but will also display your strength. It takes courage to correct a mistake, especially a big one or one that affects others.

Forgive and forget. This list is not a complete list but it would be less complete if I did not mention that you must forgive the mistakes of others regardless of how much they have negatively affected you. Just as you and I make our share of mistakes, those whose mistakes have impacted you are also human and just as you and I would want to be forgiven, they also need this forgiveness. What I just said is nothing different from the Golden Rule but many don’t appreciate the relief that comes from forgiving the mistakes of others. You must also forgive yourself for your own mistakes. This is necessary to proceed with a healthy life.

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