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Mistakes Aren't Pitfalls; They're Awesome Opportunities for Growth

We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve wished we had done things just a little differently. It’s not the amount of mistakes we make. It’s how we learn from our mistakes that matters. 


Here’s a story about a time in the not-too-distant past when I got the chance to relearn the lesson that we all make mistakes. Unfortunately, this lesson involved my food and, worse yet, my discerning tastebuds.


Recently, I went to the mall with my wife and kids. We had to run some errands and grab a little lunch.


I was hungry.


The mall had dozens of restaurants and hundreds of choices. There was a new restaurant, and I decided to try it.


That was my first mistake.


As I ate my lunch, I quickly began to regret my decision. It was not good. I immediately went through all the choices that I didn’t make.


I could have had a burger.


I could have had fish and chips.


I could have had Persian kebabs.


I could have had a number of things.


But, I didn’t. I made a poor choice.


I made a mistake.


It happens. I just wish it hadn’t happened with my lunch.


Here’s the thing.


We all make mistakes, but we can’t dwell on them. We have to learn from them and adjust accordingly.


So often, people make a mistake and just keep making that same mistake, all while hoping for a different result. This is one of the definitions of insanity.


Sitting there with my less-than-yummy lunch, I reflected on the decisions I could make to minimize the chances of repeating this experience. I learned that when I‘m really hungry, I should probably not try something new.


This idea of taking the time to reflect on a mistake is powerful.  It’s not about beating yourself up for not being perfect.  It’s not about making excuses or assigning blame. To truly reap the benefit of a mistake, you must recognize it, accept it, analyze it, and determine new approaches to avoid making the same mistake more than once.


Mistakes are going to happen. That’s just how it is (if we aren’t making mistakes, we aren’t trying). Our goal should be to learn from our mistakes.

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