The Magic of Mistakes

IF YOU ARE like me who tend to give so much credence to precautionary measures before attempting any task, you most likely are yet to experience the real magic of mistakes.

It doesn’t matter how careful we are, mistakes are just inevitable. 

Often times when I hear myself or others saying something like; “If I had known what I knew now 10 years ago, my life would have been a lot better,” I shrug my shoulders and wave my head.

The truth is, if you hadn’t gone through that experience of 10 years, there’s no way you could have learned what you now know. In retrospect, it is the lessons you learned from the series of mistakes you’d made in those 10 years that has combined together to turn you into the kind of personality you have become today.

There’s a marked difference between the system of learning in our traditional schools and that of the real world. In school, you are thought the lesson before the experience. But in the real world it is the other way round. The lesson is learned via the experience.

This is why mistakes are detested in the world of traditional schooling. In school the more mistakes you make, the less intelligent you are thought to be.

If you are going to thrive in the real world, you must have a different view on mistakes that you had while in school. You must recognize that there’s a clear distinction between “school smarts” and “street smarts”

School smarts does not give room for learning via mistakes because it perceives them as not being smart.

On the contrary, street smarts encourage learning on the go. As King Solomon of Ancient Israel wrote, “Wisdom is found in the street.” In the street, as you make attempts to achieve your goals, you have much freedom to make as many mistakes as possible. For that’s where the magic lies.

Every mistake is a big opportunity for learning. You learn so much more from making mistakes than you could possibly learn from not making one.

Can you remember the frustration you went through as you struggled to learn how to ride a bicycle. While all your friends are busy riding, all you find yourself doing is climbing on the bike this moment and immediately falling off the next. You make mistake after mistake until suddenly, a whole new world opens up to you and you start riding like a pro. That’s the magic of mistakes.

I think I have a quick advice to offer you today.

Since mistakes are inevitable in the real world, don’t work hard at trying to avoid them. Instead work hard at understanding the art of making a mistake and gaining deep insight from it.

At that point where you figure that you’d made a mistake, you may feel upset but the truth is if you are not careful, such feeling will deny you the benefit of enjoying the real magic of the mistake.

If you allow your feelings to rule over your judgments when you make mistakes, you will find yourself exhibiting one or more of the following characters:

1. The Liar: You will hear yourself saying such things as; “Not me, I didn’t do it. No, no, no. I don’t know how it happened. This means lying to yourself about the mistake that you’ve obviously made.

2. The Blamer: You will say things like; “It’s not my fault, she’s the one responsible.” “This wouldn’t have happened had I come from a rich family.” And so on.

3. The Justifier: You will find ways to justify the actions which led to the mistake. You will hear yourself  saying things like; “Well, I didn’t have any other option.” Or “I would have made it if I had more time and money. Or “I had to do it because everyone else was doing it.”

4. The Quitter: You say things like; “I told you that this thing would never work. This is just too hard and it’s probably not worth it after all.” 

5. The Complainer: You will hear yourself uttering words like; “Why me? What have I done? Why is all this happening to me?” Or “I’m finished!” Or “Nothing I do ever works.”

6. The Denier: In this case you tend to bury your head in the sand like the ostrich. That is you deny that the mistake did occur by ignoring it. You hear yourself saying things like; “No, nothing wrong happened. I mean, it’s not that bad. Things are still fine.”

When either of these characters suffice in your moments of mistakes (which evidently is unavoidable), you are most likely going to frustrate the power that’s trapped in them.

This is June. The sixth month of the year and the last month of the first half of 2017. 

You have probably made more mistakes than you’d anticipated before this year began. Perhaps, you’ve tried many things that failed. 

This is what I suggest you do this month:

Throw aside your ill-feelings. Travel the memory lane and bring up those instances where you’d made mistakes. Take responsibility for them. Allow the responsible you to take control of your thinking. 

Instead of lying to yourself or looking for who to blame or complaining or burying your head in the sand, ask yourself this priceless question; “What invaluable lessons can I learn from these series of mistakes? What is it I’m not doing right? What can I do better next time?

Note the lessons down and determine to integrate them in your next line of action whether in your personal or professional life. If you practice this, I assure you, the remaing part of the year will be full of uncommon realities for you.

It will be like magic!

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