Life Lessons

Learn from Mistakes

Don't: say or think "oh well, it didn't do me any good anyway"

Do: Spend time pondering:

  • why you did it,
  • plan how to do better,
  • implementing the plan to make sure you do better (e.g having a reminder)

When you make a mistake and someone corrects you and tells you not to do what you did again. Instead of:

  • admitting that you made the mistake, saying 'ok' and
  • trying to absorb the lesson, and
  • committing the mistake to memory so that you won't make the same mistake again in the future

You tend to discount the mistakes by:

  • focusing on the 'don't do that again', rather than:
    • the actual mistakes,
    • lessons to learn and
    • what not to do

As a result, you never learn your lessons. All you take from the mistakes, hurting others and solutions to your mistakes is that you did not want to do that thing anyway. That's the easy and lazy way out of having to learn from your mistakes. Let's look at an example.

Imagine that you had the bedroom blind open for days and anyone could have looked through the window. One day your wife noticed that the blind has been open all this time and got upset. She tells you to always keep that blind shut from now on. Your response? (let's examine the lazy way and the good way)

The lazy way: 'Oh well, it (having the blind open) didn't do me good anyway.'

By saying this to yourself, you are just brushing off the mistakes and never let any learning from mistakes lessons enter your head. You will not learn from the mistake because you never spent time on it enough to remember it. Sure, this time you may think it doesn't do you any good to open the blind. However, you did open the blind so there is a chance in the future that you will open the blind again. So, just saying that it didn't do you any good anyway will not ensure that you remember not to do it in the future.

By saying 'it didn't do ME good anyway', you are only thinking of yourself and what you want. The idea that your mistake upset your wife never enter your mind. As a result, you did not spend any time thinking of what you could do to never let it happen again whether it benefits you or not.

The good way: The good person will do the followings:

  • apologize genuinely for upsetting wife
  • think of what on earth possess you to open the blind and not close for days
  • make some sort of reminders to ensure that you will not open the blind again even if it makes sense at the time to open the blind.

This person indulge himself in the lesson to learn from his mistake. He is sensitive enough to apologize for his mistakes and tries to find out the reasons for his mistake. Even if he cannot find the reason, he is making sure that it doesn't happen again.