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Learning to Embrace The Gift of Mistakes


We all make them.  There is not a single human being on the planet who is immune to these little (and sometimes not-so-little) foibles and gaffes.   

Sometimes, mistakes are small enough that you can ignore them or at least, move past them pretty quickly.  Sometimes, however, mistakes and their resulting after-effects can linger for a long, long time.  In either case, the question is, how do you incorporate and address the challenges of mistakes, without allowing yourself to get taken down? 

The key is to remember that a mistake is nothing more or less than a learning opportunity.  The most successful among us know how to look at a mistake, experience a mistake and see it not for a failure and negatively defining moment but rather as a stepping stone, a building block and a key to achieving ultimate success.  In other words, we’ve got to remember that every road to success is paved with mistakes.  

Now, I will confess:  this key is one that continues to pose a challenge for me and for many others. WE live in a world where we are taught, from a young age, that mistakes are BAD. Mistakes lead to punitive measures. Mistakes have dire consequences, right? 

Maybe; and maybe not. While mistakes often do lead to undesirable consequences, they also create rich opportunities for learning -- if we avail ourselves  of the opportunity.  Mistakes might reflect a poor choice; they needn’t, however, keep us stuck in a rut of poor choices.  Instead, we can learn from the mistakes, set our eyes on our ultimate objective, and move on from that learning. 

Gleaning the learning is actually a pivotal piece of the mistake-making paradigm. Unless we extract the learning, we will continue to make the mistake and, as the saying goes, the first time it’s a mistake; after that, it’s a choice.  

Bottom-line:  if you’re striving  to achieve success, don’t shy away from mistakes. Mistakes can be a rich source of learning and growth, if you allow them to be, and will ultimately augment your experience of success. Learn to embrace the learning inherent in all of your mistakes. And then relish the success that follows.