7 steps for making the most out of your mistakes

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself, but be wary. A process on how to turn a mistake into a blessing.

7 steps for making the most out of your mistakes Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Everyone makes mistakes, everyone knows that, but only a fool keeps repeating the same ones. It’s not that we make mistakes that matter but what we do about them. Mistakes can either break us or build us; block our progress or advance it. If you want something better, lose the ego and use mistakes as constructive feedback for a better life. Better yet, learn from the mistakes of others to minimize pain and accelerate success.

We gain knowledge, wisdom, and experience through mistakes and become more capable of navigating our path. Here are seven steps for harnessing the power of your mistakes to help unlock your best life in less than a year.

Own your mistakes
Until you admit you made a mistake, you will repeat it until you finally learn from it, which some people never do because they’re more afraid of appearing wrong or disappointing people. A mistake holds you in its grip until you admit you made it. So take the power back by acknowledging it and use it as a stepping stone to more tremendous success and fulfillment.

You’re a student of life who’s growing and discovering. Don’t blame, make excuses, or justify. Don’t worry about what other people think, their disapproval, or being criticized or judged, which they’ll do anyway, if not over this, then over something else. By admitting you made a mistake, you’re holding yourself accountable. And you will have peace of mind, greater self-respect, and your peers’ respect in the long run.

Shift Your Outlook
They say that Thomas Edison shifted his perspective to view mistakes and failures as necessary stepping stones to success. For him, according to some, mistakes were lessons, and he kept using that feedback to adjust the course until he finally got to where he wanted to go. That is one of the cornerstones in the mindset of successful people.

Some mistakes are simple errors; others are life-altering (not necessarily in a "good" way). Either way, for better or for worse, there’s always something valuable to learn. Taking it to heart and examining it will help you shift your outlook. Be objective about the learning process.

What's next
Once you’ve admitted the mistake and know why it happened and how to avoid repeating it, it’s time to move on and ask, "What’s next? How can I make something good come out of this?" You made a mistake. There’s no changing it. Use it to make your life better in some way; don’t waste it. Be humble and open to suggestions and feedback from others, you will learn more about yourself and how to avoid stepping into the same trap again.

Arrogant Woman. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Stop Dwelling on It
Although you should admit your mistake, dwelling on the past gets you nowhere, so handle it and move on. Staying stuck in the past and overthinking things fills you with self-doubt, and kills confidence and self-esteem, making you even more anxious and mistake-prone. Take charge of your mind and mental focus. Don’t let your negative self-talk gain momentum. Be kind and empathetic to yourself just like you would be to a dear friend. Nothing good comes from beating yourself up, it just hurts more. Make peace with your mistakes. Remind yourself that life goes on. For a brighter, better future, learn from your past so you don’t repeat the mistake.

Create Your Plan of Action
Next, make a plan of action of what you’ll do differently to make things better moving forward starting today. After analyzing the data and making your plan of action, put your plan into motion. An imperfect plan that hobbles forward is better than a perfect plan standing still and going nowhere. Create a vivid mental image of what you will and won’t do from this day forward based on what you’ve learned from the mistake made. If you have to get new skills and resources, get them; stack the odds in your favor. Have the will to act as you take steps to unlock your best life.

Make Some New Mistakes
If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not growing. But try not to make mistakes that ruin your life. People who are afraid of making mistakes usually live life too small, miss opportunities, and make even more mistakes than if they lived with passion, purpose, and power because they’re too cautious and always second-guessing themselves. Make the most of your mistakes and then make some more! Keep experimenting and learning. Let your life be a bold and daring adventure, and embrace that outlook to minimize the toll your mistakes take on your mental and emotional health.

Be Solution-Focused
The next time you make a mistake, be solution-focused instead of dwelling on the past and beating yourself up. Don’t ever let a mistake keep you from living your life or pursuing your dreams. Take ownership of your actions and embrace an optimistic outlook. Negativity gets you nowhere fast. Try to focus more on making something good come from your past and creating new opportunities instead of on what you’ve lost. Use these tips to work through your mistakes for a better life now and a brighter future in the coming years and beyond.

Justin Richardson Canadian Garbage Collector Extraordinaire