Make a mistake – go ahead it’s okay. Everyone does it and it’s good for you. Without mistakes there is no growth. And feel free to learn from others people’s mistakes. Very successful people made many mistakes before they got it right. Very happy people took a lot of chances before they were able to find what truly makes them happy.
Here are a few things to think about and focus on to expand your capacity for mistakes in a positive way:
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: As my friend and mentor Richard Carlson taught us in his bestselling book of the late 1990s, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff — And It’s All Small Stuff. The vast majority of mistakes we make in life really aren’t all that big of a deal. The bigger issue when it comes to mistakes is either our fear of making them or our reaction to them once they have been made (by us or other people). As we lighten up and practice letting things go, we find that most things we stress or worry about are really small things. Living life with this awareness allows us to have more peace and a lot less stress.
- Forgive: When a mistake is made, especially a big one, forgiveness is an essential aspect of moving through it. Most of the time there is no malicious intent by the person who made the mistake (us or others). Sadly, we tend to spend and waste a lot of time and energy either with blame or resentment, instead of focusing our attention in a more productive, positive, and healthy direction — forgiveness. It is often most difficult, but most important, for us to forgive ourselves when we make a mistake. However, if we can remember that most of the time we’re doing the best we can (as are others), we can hopefully get off our own backs and allow ourselves to be human (which means we aren’t perfect, nor is anyone else).
- Look For the Lesson: There are often tons of lessons for us to learn when a mistake is made. While it’s not always the easiest or most enjoyable way to learn a lesson, it’s often quite effective, as it gets our attention. One of my friends posted on Facebook in response to my passport incident from a few weeks ago and said, “Well, look on the bright side, I bet this will be the one and only time you ever do this in your life — you won’t forget how it feels.” She is probably right, and most of the time when we make a mistake, even a really big one, we gain a great deal of knowledge, experience, and insight that is invaluable.
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