Learning from our mistakes!


Have you ever found yourself saying, “I’ll never do that again,” only to find yourself doing the same thing just a short time later? If so, you’re not alone.

The good news is, you can take just 6 steps to turn your mistakes into valuable life lessons.


  1. Acknowledge your errors

Before you can learn from your mistakes, you have to accept full responsibility for your role in the outcome. 

Owning up to your mistake can be tough, be it at the workplace or in personal space. But, you only have a problem when you don’t know where you screwed up or even when your self-imposed blindness prevents you from realizing there was a mistake at all.

Rather than hiding from your failures, face them directly. Identify your mistake, why you made it, and then learn from it.

Ask yourself a few tough questions:

  • What went wrong?
  • What could I do better next time?
  • What did I learn from this?

Write down your responses, and you’ll see the situation a little more clearly. Seeing your answers on paper can help you think more logically about an irrational or emotional experience.


  1. Forgive yourself

Whatever went down today has already happened. You can’t go back to avoid your mistakes or tell yourself to try harder.

If you can’t go back in time, there’s only one thing you can do. Focus on the future. Ask yourself, how can I be better tomorrow?

Thinking over and over about your failures only holds you back. So, stop circling over your mistakes, focus on learning from them, and find a way to grow. If you decide to be better tomorrow, you can be. 


  1. Keep a learning mindset and make a plan

Beating yourself up for your mistakes won’t help you down the road. It’s essential to spend time thinking about how to do better in the future.

Make a plan that will help you avoid making a similar mistake. Be as detailed as possible but remain flexible since your project may need to change.

Allow your mistakes to remind you of the bigger picture you’re aiming for and precisely what you want your achievements to look like. This will help you see your errors in a more realistic proportion–which is likely not as big of a deal as you initially believed.


  1. Put assimilated lessons into practice

Learning lessons is one thing, but putting them into practice is quite another.

Acting on what you’ve learned will require the discipline and motivation to change your habits. 

Remember, any actions you take to implement your learning need to be enduring and something you can commit to.

For example, if you learned that a mistake occurred because of your forgetfulness, aides-mémoire or digital planners could help. If you discovered that an error occurred because of a cross-cultural misunderstanding, your communication skills might need a polish.

Keep in mind that what works for one person might not work with someone else.


  1. Review your progress

You may have to try several strategies to put your learning into practice before you find one that successfully prevents you from repeating errors.

From there, monitor the efficacy of your chosen tactic by reviewing the number and nature of mistakes that still do. 

Asking someone to hold you accountable can help you to stay committed to your new course of action. 

Remember, self-discipline is like a muscle. Each time you delay gratification and make a healthy choice, you grow mentally stronger.


  1. Listen to feedback

The feedback you get varies by the situation. It might come from your boss, coworkers, friends, family, or even strangers.

Don’t think of criticism as an attack or as proof of your shortcomings. When you’re criticized, that means you’ve been given an opportunity to improve. Take people’s observations into account.

Sometimes they’ll have suggestions for how to avoid repeating the mistake in the future. Sometimes they’ll just be pointing out the consequences of a mistake. Everything tells you important information about how to address the situation



Consequence: a result or effect of an action or condition.

Outcome: the way a thing turns out; a consequence.

Embarrassment: a feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness.

Calmness: the state or quality of being free from agitation or strong emotion.



Mistake for

“I think you must be mistaking me for someone else.”


To lose out to

“I didn’t get the job, but it sounds like I lost out to someone who was much more qualified.”


Fall through

“The deal fell through when our client couldn’t get financing for the project.”



Back the wrong horse: to make the wrong decision and support a person or action that is later unsuccessful.


Bark up the wrong tree: to be wrong about the reason for something or the way to achieve something.


Swallow your pride: to decide to do something although it will make you feel embarrassed or ashamed.


Swallow your words / Eat your words: to admit that you’ve said something wrong.

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