top of page

The Importance of Making Mistakes

THE end of year is nigh and as we scramble to close up the year that was, many of us are silently planning the steps we need to take in early 2016 to make it an improvement on 2015.

Some of us might be wrapping up a successful year of what Charlie Sheen would describe as ‘winning’ while others might be treading a bit more lightly into the next year, almost fearful of making moves that could lead to the same mess-ups they participated in during the past year.

Inevitably you would have made some mistakes, and perhaps still feeling woeful about them. But, instead of beating yourself over the head about what you did wrong, use it as a valuable lesson for the New Year coming. What did you learn? What won’t you do again? What worked well? Evaluate the year that was, and make recommendations for going forth in your life rather than getting bogged down in your perceived failures.

That way you can jump confidently into 2016. Making mistakes is a byproduct of living life to it’s fullest. Making mistakes is natural, and we need to make them for personal growth. You are not moving if you’re not making mistakes. It is all part of the process. If you are not one for making mistakes, then you are not challenging yourself enough (which as we know, makes for well-earned personal growth).

You don’t get that from spending your life sitting on the couch all day watching TV and eating Cheezels. That is a mistake in itself. Even when you stay in your comfort zone, it ends up becoming your discomfort zone. So move ahead in to next year by jumping into your life a little more, knowing that you may likely stuff up. And that’s okay. Watch out for that fear creeping up on you as your pen your New Year’s resolutions.

Don’t let it put you off being bold in your goals for next year. Making mistakes is not always a bad thing. In fact they can be valuable.

Back in August I set off to the airport to start my overseas family holiday. Upon check-in I was informed that my children’s passports were expired (they last only five years not 10 years like adult passports) and we couldn’t travel until I got them new ones. Goodbye holiday. It is safe to say that I will never ever do that again. It has been burned into my mind forever more to check everyone’s passport expiry dates, not just my own, prior to travelling. Which is a beneficial for me right? So pat on the back to me for big time stuffing up (and pat on the back to the check-in staff, who rubbed my shoulders while I cried).

So going forth start reframing your mistakes as something positive. You would have learned so much from them. Maybe from making mistakes this year you learned more about someone you know (and hence need to avoid them in the future).

Maybe you learned what actually matters most to you (and what can take a great big back seat) and maybe you learned what works (and what doesn’t). Maybe you learned not to wear white pants when out with your toddler, or not to work so much overtime, not to yell at your wife, not to gossip about friends, not to eat at ‘that’ restaurant that gave you food poisoning and not to drink so much at the Christmas party.

You wouldn’t have learned not to do these things next year if you hadn’t done them in the first place. Maybe you learned that you are actually a human being who mucks up occasionally.

You would have learned from making your mistakes, and sometimes looking at them at the end of the year and incorporating the lessons into your plans for the next year might be of benefit for you.

Don’t let fear of making more get in the way of making some daring New Year’s resolutions.

I want you to enter 2016 being okay with making a few more mistakes. See your mistakes in life as like the dead ends in the maze diagrams you did as a child. You were heading in a particular direction living your life, and bam, there is a dead end or wrong turn.

Take a deep breath, and just move in another direction, and remember not to head down that track again. No need to chuck a tantrum. No need to beat yourself for choosing that path.

Treat your life like an experiment, you have got to just do what you think and see what the results are.

So here’s to a happy and healthy 2016 for you, and to making some more mistakes you can learn from. I am off overseas with my valid passports.

bottom of page