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“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” Niels Bohr
What’s your first thought when you hear the word MISTAKE?
Is it “That has nothing to do with me, I don’t make any” or maybe “I try to avoid them at any cost“
What comes to your mind when you realise you made a mistake?
What do you think about yourself and those around you?
What is your usual first reaction?
If you want to succeed, you want to remain alert
We all make mistakes. That has to be stated right up front. What makes us different is how we react to them, what we tell ourselves about them and us and others involved. Many of these questions are answered automatically. We may be even able to identify statements that are part of our beliefs system. Being alert to our own perception of mistakes gives us power to control the reaction and choose the most beneficial attitude and approach that we want to adopt.
The truth is that if we want to succeed and expand our knowledge and skills we must step outside our comfort zone. And this again requires awareness. Improvement and growth happen only when we remain alert to our personal indicator of challenge. What is it exactly? …..
Label it correctly
The word mistake is a label that we put on an event or an action whose outcome was not as expected.
Notice how our reaction can change the perception of event.
Now I know how to complete this task or approach this project” – a mistake becomes learning
“I’ll try to do it a different way because this approach didn’t work” – a mistake becomes just another way of doing things
“I stepped outside my comfort zone and tried something new” – a mistake becomes exciting, new challenge
“Maybe I haven’t achieved my goal yet but I am moving forward” – a mistake becomes a stepping stone
“My goal is still to be achieved but I’m already on the way” – a mistake becomes a level of success.
Start now and remain alert to your own automatic habits, behaviors and patterns of thinking. Recognise how you frame your own “learning in progress”experiences. Do you try to prove that you know better already or want to get better instead? Be aware and decide how you want to react and approach the situation.
You ALWAYS have a choice.
How to be motivated and approach new challenges with excitement
So we know now that our openness to future mistakes or even eagerness to make them, depends on how we frame our challenging experiences. If you want to become an expert you must make mistakes.
Here are 6 simple steps to support our new re-framing approach
- Be Alert – Notice when your resistance is telling you to remain in your comfort zone. Act despite it.
- Stock Take – So you’ve made mistakes in the past. Have a look and examine what happened. Decide what you learnt and how you can approach similar situations differently in a future.
- Admit and give permission – Do you ever give yourself permission to make “mistakes”? Try it, it’s a freeing experience. If you are allowed to make mistakes, all your past and future challenges become just a learning curve. Admit that it happened and let it go.
- Learn – Identify your comfort zone and notice how it expanded as a result of your new learning. Discover how you changed and how much wiser you are now
- Learn to say sorry – no regrets – If it’s necessary to speak to others in relation to what happened – do. If your intention is to get better and act wiser in the future tell them about it.
- Move on – Squeeze all “the learning juices!” out of your previous experiences and think no more about them. If your mind is in the past, it is not in a future and this is where all your new, exciting challenges and successes are.
Want to know more about the topic?
Nate Kornell, Matthew Jensen Hays, and Robert A. Bjork University of California, Los Angeles
Unsuccessful Retrieval Attempts Enhance Subsequent Learning
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