If you believe you have never made a mistake, you’re not really well. Actually, you’re delusional. We ALL make mistakes. I’ve probably made a lot more than you ’cuz I’m a thick-skulled ‘70’s guy. Made a bunch. A BUNCH! Sometime ago, I asked my dad if he had any regrets about his past. He said no! NO! Are you kidding me? You’re my dad and you have no regrets?!?!?!? But, I’m getting off track, perhaps I’ll do a post on regret later. My point here is that I’ve made a boatload of mistakes. I don’t say that with pride, or callousness or minimize the impact it had on my life or the lives’ of others. It has kept me up at night. The difference as to how I manage mistakes in my life now as to how I did it in the past is how I view the act of the mistake. That’s called “reframing.” More on that later.
Mistakes come in different flavors. Sometimes you just forget something and BANG!, you’ve made a mistake. Forgot where you put your keys, “e before i, except after c…”, call someone the wrong name…mistakes. Sometimes they are accidental. Hopefully, no one gets hurt.
However, sometimes you don’t do the right thing by choice, that’s a mistake but done deliberately. The reasons and causes for these choices are your own. But they are still a mistake. But we all make them.
Some people are seriously bothered by the fact that they make mistakes, others, not at all. The correct emotional default for this is in the middle, leaning more to the, “not at all” part. We should have some conscience about mistakes, that’s what keeps us from harming ourselves and others and teaches us. Thomas A. Edison said this, “Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward….”
Now, understand, he’s not talking about repeatedly making the same bad choices when you know better. He’s talking about trial and error. Living life to the fullest by being unafraid of making mistakes. Unafraid. However, most of us live a life riddled with fear. And fear is not a positive motivator. Not a positive one. Fear drives some into blind panics where they make bad decisions, poor, ill-informed choices, and empty promises. The consequences to this life-style are negative. So, yeah, some mistakes are avoidable, but then sometimes we just step in it!
You didn’t see it coming, you got blind-sided, things took a turn for the worse, and the situation was just not in your control. This happens when you stick your neck out, take a risk and, somehow, it backfires on you. Life’s a risk. I’m not trying to be trite here, but if you’re not trying, you’re dying!
The process of living requires mistakes!
Say that aloud!
The process of living requires mistakes!
Most people’s problem is they fail, make a mistake whatever, land on their face, or whatever piece of anatomy and decide to move into the crater for life! And they wonder why they’re not happy! If you spent your life picking at your own open wounds, it wouldn’t be a happy existence.
Here’s my requirements for turning away from living a regret filled life:
The Five Requirement of Turning Mistakes
1. Require knowledge of their commonality. (Everyone makes them)
2. Required to learn
3. Require moving forward
4. Require forgiveness of self
5. Require forgiveness of others
1. Require knowledge of their commonality-that’s my way of saying, “Welcome to the club.” we all blow it. It doesn’t make you a loser. It makes you human! There has never been a person on the planet, save One, who never made a mistake. So make them, think of them like a paint box, pull them out and experiment! They are-
2. Required to learn-You’ve heard it enough, “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a change is the definition for insanity. I’d love to be able to hand you a book and tell you to read it and you will no longer make a mistakes. But it’s just not possible. I know people who read their Bible and still make some fine mistakes. I know I do, but when you find yourself flat on your back, take a moment to ask yourself, “Ok, what can I possibly learn from this humiliating moment?” Maybe you won’t get the answer right away and maybe you’ll have to ask it a few times, but asking is better than labeling it as some type of personal, individual failure of catastrophic nature that no one since the beginning of time has ever made and the stars will fall from their courses, the earth will shrivel into a cinder, people will speak you name with mocking laughter because of, of, of whatever. .
3. Require moving forward-As a kid, I fell down a lot. Something my mom and oldest sister never let me forget. I went through a lot of blue jeans. And I had a lot of scabs on my knees, and when I would scratch them, they would scold, “Don’t pick at it, it’ll never heal!” Hey you, I’m talking to you now, “Don’t pick at it, it’ll never heal!” Get some friends that show you some grace, give you a break and show they are living their lives just fine without burying themselves in the shame of making mistakes. That means you’ll have to-
4. Forgive yourself-I’ve got an article and video on forgiving yourself. Look it up, I don’t want to waste letters retyping here. I’ll wait here while you look it up.
5. Require to Forgive Others-Only people who have done step 4 can achieve step 5.
You’re going to make them. You just are. The sooner you get that down, the sooner you’ll be able to move on to the next success. And you’re saying, “Who said anything about success?” The road to success is littered with setbacks. Remember Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work…” To some, that may sound like he’s minimizing his mistakes. To others, he is practicing “Reframing.” Yeah, stick with me here, I really had to learn this as I was one of those that would say, “Call it what you want, he still screwed up!” You see, you can either “learn or lose” from mistakes. Your choice.
Jim Rohn’s formula applies here as well:
Had a dog once. Dumber than cake on Monday. The dog would often trip on curbs, stairs, sand, his own feet, (I guess 4 was too much to keep up with) and when he tripped, he’d maybe miss a step or sometimes fall flat on his pug face. He didn’t care. His tongue would just roll out of the side of his smiling mouth and he’d keep going. He was just happy to be walking with me. And I was happy to have him walking with me on that part of my life.
And have you ever noticed a child when they’re learning to walk? They pull up off their bum, grab the table, grab mom’s knee, grab the dog and they cruise along as they learn to walk. And along the way, they will, THEY WILL, take a tumble and end back on their diaper. Have you ever heard them lean back in frustration and wail, “OH MY GOSH! How many times is this gonna take? Can you believe this? I’ve been doing this all week and I’m still not on two legs! What a flippin’ loser!”
They never say that. And not because they lack the verbal skills and vocabulary. It’s because they know nothing of failure! They haven’t been programed to see failure as a bad thing! To them, it’s not failure, it’s a necessary step on the way to getting to Grandma! The faster they get there, the faster they get love. But not us! No, no! One trip and it’s “Oh my gosh! I’m a loser! Just like they (whoever ‘they’ are) said I am!” You’ve been programmed! Badly programmed! Like a computer that freezes or acts buggy, it’s got bad information, (garbage in, garbage out) and it will not work right! If everybody makes mistakes, what are you gaining by being so hard on yourself? Nothing. I don’t care what you’ve done, being verbally abusive to anyone, especially, yourself is never a solution. And will yield negative results.
So, how do you reframe?
1. Identify the antecedent – for example, Friday afternoon, the boss says he wants to talk to you on Monday.
2. Identify the consequence – He’s going to fire me! Panic attack!
3. Reframing – What are other positive reasons the boss could want to speak to you? Have a couple of positive thoughts or ideas ready for the meeting.
Or try this
1. Identify the antecedent – someone at work nearly bites your head off.
2. Identify the consequence – I’m such a loser. “They” always treat me that way.
3. Reframing – Maybe they’re having a bad day all around. Or maybe they’re like that to everybody, not just me.
The “So What” moment here is, when (not if) you make a mistake, remember these steps:
1. Everybody makes mistakes. No need to be reckless here, but realize it’s not just you.
2. Ask forgiveness if someone was negatively affected by your mistake.
3. Reframe the moment into finding the good, even in the worst of circumstances.
4. Move on!
Wisdom is merely intelligence applied. Realize that mistakes are the results of someone trying to improve. We’re all struggling, here. The trick is, try not to hurt others and yourself in the process.
(and yes, it’s, “i before e except after c.”)