Have you ever taken the wrong turn? Made the wrong decision? Said the wrong thing?
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Most of us don’t enjoy making mistakes. They can leave us feeling embarrassed, sloppy, incompetent, or just plain stupid.
You might say, “It’s good if other people learn from their mistakes, but I’d rather just avoid them altogether. Besides, I can just learn from theirs.”
We avoid mistakes like the plague but in fact, they are our best teachers and motivators for personal growth and success in all areas of life.
So I propose we learn to embrace our mistakes rather than avoid them.
1. You Can’t Avoid Them
No matter how hard you try to do everything perfectly, there will come a time where you screw up.
This is not a put-down, it’s just the plain truth.
Wouldn’t it just be better to think of our unavoidable mistakes as opportunities rather than pitfalls? “What opportunities?” you may ask.
2. They Force You To Look Inward
Contrary to popular and celebrity culture, happiness and fulfillment doesn’t come from our outward possessions, but by developing our inner lives.
The only way to cultivate and grow our inner lives is by learning to look inward and reflect on the lives we’re living.
Mistakes force us to slow down and examine our deepest values and motivations.
By looking inward, you can gain clarity on the things that truly matter to you.
3. They Make You More Human
Let’s be real. Nobody wants to be around a perfect person (or someone pretending to be perfect).
So why do we pretend? Often it’s so we can feel superior to others but most of us are just desperately trying to connect with other human beings.
We mistakenly think that if we’re perfect, other people will like us and accept us.
But the exact opposite is true. Because connection can only happen when we allow ourselves to be authentic and vulnerable.
Freely admitting that you make mistakes like everyone else invites connection and deepened relationships.
4. They Help You Think More Critically
Critical thinking is a highly valued skill. People who assume that there are no flaws in their thinking are most prone to falling victim to faulty thinking. Paradoxically, this is perhaps the greatest mistake one can make.
Billionaire investor Ray Dalio says “the greatest tragedy of mankind — or one of them — is that people needlessly hold wrong opinions in their minds.”
Renowned spiritual writer Fr. Richard Rohr, in his book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, puts it this way: “We think we are our thinking, and we even take that thinking as utterly ‘true,” which removes us at least two steps from reality itself.”
Recognizing and acknowledging your mistakes keeps you grounded in reality.
5. You’ll Bounce Back Faster
If you’re not willing to embrace your mistakes, they will slow down your ability to bounce back from them.
On the other hand, embracing them will give you the opportunity to correct them more quickly thereby assisting in your recovery.
6. You’ll Be More Confident
Accepting and embracing your mistakes will help you grow your confidence.
Embracing your mistakes will give you permission to push and challenge yourself to the point of failure.
Only then can you know your true strengths and become more aware of your weaknesses.
This increased self-knowledge will be the bedrock on which your confidence will grow.
Set Yourself Apart
You have what it takes to be successful.
If you’re like most people, you may mistakenly think that being successful means avoiding all mistakes. Ironic right?
Every person who has achieved success personally and professionally knows that embracing their mistakes is one characteristic that set them apart from everyone else.
So if you’re tired of being part of the herd, quit obsessing over your mistakes.
Have the courage to leave the safe zone so you can live the life you truly want.
Because, as they say—no risk, no reward.