Can mistakes really be opportunities to improve our success? If so, how?

By: altaf


First would be the opportunity to enable future successes by creating a smaller controlled mistake at the present time. In marketing, companies use a number of tests regarding how a product is promoted, whom it is promoted to, and even the price of the product. Once results are available from a limited marketing campaign, the larger promotion is rolled out based upon the experience from the test groups. By investing a smaller amount in multiple test markets, the large investment for the rollout has more predictable results. In this example the company learned what they wanted from the smaller mistakes, and prevented what could have been a larger mistake from an untested campaign.
As we learn the how and why from our mistakes, preventative measures can be implemented to reduce the reoccurrence of making the same mistake in the future. The measures can be additional training, a new process for performing the work, or maybe different equipment. Human error still comes into play, but certain steps can reduce the likelihood of the same mistake in the future. The important thing is to learn from the mistake and then take action to put that knowledge into play.
What if we are talking about wasted talent and squandered time? Making the mistake is less of the issue than what you do with the information once you have arrived at that conclusion. We have 3 choices on how to proceed.

We could continue to put up a front, act like we know what we are doing, and continue to make up excuses for the meaningless effort we have shown. We are still not effectively contributing to others or ourselves, yet we have justified our actions in our mind.

Perhaps even worse, we can lament and say, “woe is me, I’ve wasted too much time and don’t deserve another chance to make something of my life”. We keep doing whatever it is that is destroying our potential and forego the opportunities to change. If we know we are in a rut and are not happy with the way things are but we are not willing to make changes, this is our category.

The third option is to admit our mistakes, ask for forgiveness for past actions, and then make the changes in our life that will lead to fulfillment, success, and being a better human being. Don’t ever think it is too late to make a contribution – it isn’t, and we can start right now. Think of the thief on the cross – in the last few minutes of his life, he asked for forgiveness and started living a new way.

In most cases we don’t go out and make mistakes on purpose unless we know that action will specifically improve our success in subsequent actions. Yet, unless we are willing to take chances and make mistakes, we may miss learning and growth opportunities. In some cases an entire opportunity is missed because we were fearful to just give it a try. If the mistake is unintentional, we need to learn all we can from the mistake and move forward further than had the mistake not been made. It’s okay to make a mistake or fail, but in doing so fail “forward” on our way to success.

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