That’s right – tomorrow’s a new day full of hope and opportunity and, perhaps, new and better mistakes. It seems like some mistakes don’t just happen and then go away. They stick around to taunt you. “How could I have done that?” you ask yourself. “I knew better,” you say to yourself. Well, there exists a universe where mistakes don’t have to wear you down anymore. And it’s right here. Let’s take a look at how to learn from your mistakes and stop fearing our missteps of tomorrow. Essentially, make BETTER mistakes tomorrow.
Use them to propel you forward
My Dad’s a golfer with a 10-handicap. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m told it’s good. He’s also a self-taught golfer, never taking any sort of class or workshop. He explained his process like this: “When I made mistakes in my first attempts at golf, I tried something a little different the next time. I still failed, but at least I made new and better mistakes. Eventually, those better mistakes became fewer and, finally, I found the cure.”
Our lives are so busy and multi-faceted that opportunities for mistakes abound. Maybe you flubbed it by sending the wrong message in an e-mail yesterday. Maybe you spoke out of turn in a board meeting today. Use that mistake to better navigate the nuanced waters of life. Now you know what’s acceptable and what you need to pay closer attention to in your daily ongoings. Tomorrow, your successes will be even greater.
Don’t hide from them
In my Dad’s example, he had to examine his mistakes to figure out a way to improve. In an article written for Tufts University, author Daniel Dennett encourages people to, “Acquire the weird practice of savoring your mistakes, delighting in uncovering the strange quirks that led you astray. Then, once you have sucked out all the goodness to be gained from having made them, you can cheerfully forget them and go on to the next big opportunity.”
This practice gives the mistake value. It’s not just a life-suck now; it has meaning and purpose. You will know better next time – be better next time – once you’ve examined tendencies that are not working in your favor.
Think of someone you love unconditionally – a child, best friend, or even Toto sitting there faithfully by your side. If they do something that causes you pain, you will eventually forgive them. It might be hard; you might not look at them the same for a period of time. But, you will forgive them and get back on track. If you can do that for another person, why can’t you do it for yourself?
I suppose self-love and forgiveness can be more difficult. We can’t say, “I just need some time,” and walk away from ourselves. There’s no escape! Nobody knows us like we know ourselves and that’s why the reruns keep coming on in the television of our minds. At some point, you have to say something like, “Yeah, I did that. That was awful. But, I can’t take it back. And, geez, I’m only human.” Then it’s up to you to decide what’s on TV that night.
Move onto better mistakes
Have you ever wondered why some things have to exist? Why do we have to get greasy hair if we don’t wash it every other day? Mistakes exist somewhere in that realm. We don’t want them, but they have to occur. While there are many ways to learn and grow without mistakes, they often prove to be the greatest teachers.
With each new mistake, we learn what’s required to succeed. But, please, forgive yourselves along the way, in the name of brighter tomorrows. Love yourselves enough to carry on, even through your most serious blunders. Here’s to all our new – and better – mistakes. Continue to thrive and learn from your mistakes. Make better mistakes, then move on! You can do it!
Feature photo: Kleiton Silva / Unsplash