The ability to learn from mistakes is one of the most valuable skills out there. Making mistakes is a basic quality that defines us as people. However, not all people take advantage of the potential of mistakes to be better.
Going wrong should not be seen as something humiliating or to be ashamed of. It may not be pleasant to acknowledge that one has not done well, but a valuable lesson can be learned that otherwise would not have been experienced.
How to learn from mistakes
To learn from mistakes, it is first necessary to free yourself from fears and insecurities. Once this has been achieved, work on irrational thoughts and negative emotions. Here are some simple tips to help you achieve it.
1. Acknowledge the mistake, but don’t beat yourself up for it
The basic first step in learning from mistakes is as simple as admitting that you have made a mistake. This is not always easy, as many people prefer to maintain their pride and deny failure.
Acknowledging the mistake opens the doors to learn how to do things better in the future. However, acknowledging responsibility does not mean that you have to crush yourself or take all the blame.
Punishing yourself for making a mistake is just a source of frustration and negative emotions. In this sense, you have to treat yourself as a child when you make a mistake: making him see that he is responsible for his actions, but with the necessary tenderness to guide and reassure him.
2. Look to the future, not to the past
When a mistake has been made, it is a prevalent thought to think about what would have happened if things had been done differently. However, this is simply an illusion because there is no way to know what the present would be like in alternative realities.
Also, living constantly thinking about what could be and was not is a strong distraction that prevents progress. You have to accept that you cannot go back in time and that things are the way they are. With this, the attitude should be to look to the future with courage.
In fact, these kinds of thoughts contain a trap, and that is that they always appear when things have not gone as expected. If it were possible to anticipate what will happen in the future, there would be no mistakes, but the learning capacity would be nil.
3. Relativize negative thoughts
Another aspect that must be taken into account to learn from mistakes is that value judgments are critical. There are no good or bad decisions per se, but it is a personal assessment of the consequences that actions have had.
Therefore, having a positive mindset contributes a lot to see the present differently. It is not about closing your eyes and believing that you always do things well, but about accepting mistakes and believing that they have a solution and that something can be done to remedy them.
A lot of negative thoughts are generated around mistakes that should be avoided. Keeping negative thoughts at bay is possible with techniques like cognitive defusion.
This technique basically consists of distancing oneself from thoughts and treating them as what they are, products of the mind, but not necessarily representing reality. For this, the formula “I am thinking that …” is added in front of any negative thoughts that one has.
Learning from mistakes is a way to grow.
The error has a negative evaluation within today’s society. So much so that many people are so afraid of being wrong that for this reason, they stop trying things for fear that they will not turn out as they expected. However, therein lies the real mistake: allowing insecurity to constrain freedom.
Finally, learning from mistakes is the basis for meaningful and transformational learning, as explained in an article published by the journal Educación Médica. Reflecting on problems and finding solutions for them is a powerful stimulus that promotes personal change.