Time to embrace your mistakes
Reference: LinkedIn; Forbes; BBC
22 Mar 2018
Like the rest of us, you probably have an aversion to making mistakes and seek to avoid them at all costs. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean fear of failure is something you’re born with, or that indulging it is particularly helpful from a psychological perspective.
After all, making mistakes is integral to our learning path as humans. It’s how, as toddlers, we learn to walk and speak. If we didn’t do things badly to start with we’d probably never learn to do them at all.
Whatever stage you’re at in life, here are some of the reasons why it’s important to embrace your mistakes:
Breeding resilience through failure
Exposure to failure gives us the skills to cope with life’s ups and downs. An often-cited psychological experiment involved measuring the IQs of a group of schoolgirls against their capacity to deal with a series of tasks of varying difficulty.
The test began with the harder tasks and, surprisingly, those with higher IQs performed worse overall. The smarter students hadn’t the experience nor the resilience to move past the setbacks; those more used to overcoming challenges were able to let themselves fail at the harder tasks, dust themselves off and get on with the remaining exercises.
Failing and making mistakes is about understanding your own strengths and weaknesses and learning how to work with these. By being honest about your mistakes and seeking out the reasons for them, you’ll have every chance of using the experience to your advantage.
The best managers, for example, understand where their weaknesses lie and are able to harness the abilities of the people around them to compensate for these.
The freedom to take risks
No matter what stage you’re at in life, there’s always room for trial and error and to take a few risks.
The greatest achievements of many successful individuals derived partly from their mistakes. Bill Gates, for example, flunked college and failed at his first business before going on to found Microsoft. History is littered with similar examples of people who tried, failed and tried again.
At the end of the day, life is a learning process – however old we may be we can never hope to have all the answers. While we can never fully banish our fear of failure, it’s important to be able to address these fears head on and to use our mistakes to our advantage.
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