3 Simple Life Lessons a Mistake Can Teach You

A mistake does not define you, it refines you.

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How many mistakes can you find in the email?

I made a mistake. Yup, it’s true. I’m human and I’ve made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes until I take my last breath on this earth. I’m not saying this to excuse myself from all wrong doing or justify my human tendencies. I see myself as a perfectionist, so making a mistake is very frustrating for me. A perfectionist is defined as a person who wants very much to get every detail exactly right. This is my goal but not always my reality. When I check and re-check the email I’m about to send to verify that it’s accurate and does not contain a spelling or grammar error or have incorrect information and later learn that it did contain at least one of the above, it’s disheartening.

Let’s make lemonade and see the positives that can come from mistakes!

3 Life lessons from making mistakes

1. Learn from your mistake – Ask yourself why it happened and what you could have done to experience a different outcome. Don’t see the mistake as simply an irritation or a weakness. See it as a lesson, a way to make an improvement and recognize your own limitations. You may realize that you’re in a job for which you have no passion. You may discover you shouldn’t do certain tasks when sleep deprived. Or you may learn that you need to depend on other people to help you sometimes.

All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes. – Winston Churchill

2. Own your mistake – Accept your mistake and don’t try to hide it, ignore it or blame someone else. It’s humbling to make a mistake. You may feel that you’ve not only let yourself down but you’ve let others down as well. Use your mistake as a way to learn something about yourself. This mistake has the potential to prompt you to a more creative solution. Putting blame on another person, system, or process halts your opportunity for growth and improvement.

Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement. – Henry Ford

3. Be forgiving – Forgive not only yourself, but others. Don’t beat yourself up over the mistake and don’t belittle others for theirs. We are all human and we will continue to make mistakes. Since we can’t jump in a time machine and have do-overs, we need to move on and recover by releasing the guilt and shame.

It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us. – Unknown

Some mistakes are pretty harmless, like when you forget that you’re doubling a recipe and put in the wrong amount of an ingredient resulting in a disappointing product. Other mistakes could result in losing money, valuable merchandise, your job or even your reputation. No matter what the mistake is that you’ve made, you can find a way to learn from it, own it and forgive yourself. A mistake does not define you, it refines you.

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