A few months ago, I posted about the best way to handle a mistake when you mess up with your work. At the end of the day, after a blunder has been corrected and smoothed over, the learning potential from the mess up is immense. But only if you’re open to learning from it.
Some of the best lessons I’ve learned in business and in life have been precipitated by a mistake. Here are five of the biggest reasons why I value the mistakes I make and take time to learn from them.
1. Mistakes remind me that I am not perfect.
As a disillusioned perfectionist, making a mistake serves as a great reminder that it’s okay to strive for the best, but no matter how perfect I want to be, I simply am not perfect. Instead of being discouraged by this realization, it helps lift some of that self-imposed pressure from my shoulders and makes me recognize and appreciate my limitations.
2. Mistakes let me exercise my free will.
Sometimes, I make mistakes because I don’t listen to the (good) advice of others, or just ignore that little voice speaking in the back of my mind that always knows better. Although some of these situations could have potentially been avoided, I have found that sometimes making the decision on my own, even when it results in a mess up, is well worth the freedom I have to make any decision I want to at any time.
3. Mistakes remind me how fortunate I am.
If you’re like me, you tend to forget how fortunate you are in life, even with all of the challenges you may face on a daily basis. My mistakes force me to take a realistic look at all that I have and simply be thankful for it. Ultimately, I’m reminded that life’s challenges and struggles are all relative.
4. Mistakes are motivating.
I don’t think I have ever been as motivated to do something well as I have been after messing up. Making a mistake is like a personal dare that makes me work harder, learn faster, and do better. This kind of challenge is not only motivating, but it ramps up my focus and commitment to succeed.
5. Mistakes force me to keep taking risks.
Making a mistake says there is an area in your life where you need to improve. And improvement can’t come unless you’re willing to risk making the same mistake again. This cycle of mistakes, learning and trying again keeps me focused on putting myself out there in order to do better.
What are some of the biggest lessons you learn from the mistakes you make?
Image credit: Zsuzsanna Kilián