Everybody makes mistakes, but not everybody knows how to take advantage of mistakes. Many people have that negative fear of failure and mistakes. They run away from them. They tell lies to cover them. They blame others for their mistakes. Yet, great discoveries and inventions have come about through mistakes and errors. The light bulb, for example, came after 10,000 mistakes by the Great Thomas Alva Edison. So will yours--whether it be a cure for a disease, a new technology for energy efficiency and power generation, or just about anything that will make life a little bit better.
REMEMBER, YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Take a few minutes today to carefully observe yourself and the people around you. Watch them and see how they commit mistakes. You will realize that no one is exempt from mistakes. Yet, when you look at yourself, you always tend to be critical. You think of yourself as a failure, instead of just having failed in one task. Great discoveries have come about through trial and error. Some great inventions have gone through mistakes or accidents. So will yours--whether it be a cure for a disease, a new technology for power generation, or a better use of computers.
The THREE (3) CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE, IN RELATION TO MISTAKES AND FAILURES
There are 3 kinds of people dealing with mistakes and failures:
1. The one who is not afraid of making and unmaking mistakes. This person continually takes advantage of his mistakes by learning from one mistake, eliminate it; then go on doing something. If again a new mistake arises, he learns from it, eliminate it. The cycle repeats continually.
2. The one who makes mistakes, but don't learn the lessons from them, and go on repeating those mistakes.
3. The 3rd one is someone who does not make mistake. This is because he or she is afraid of making mistakes, and therefore does nothing. The only person who does not make mistakes is the one doing nothing. Conversely, if you are making mistakes, it only shows that you are doing something.
The SEVEN (7) EFFECTIVE WAYS TO SUCCESSFULLY DEAL WITH MISTAKES
1. DON'T BE AFRAID OF MISTAKES AND FAILURES. Otherwise, You Will Regret Later
It is by failure that we learn and profit. Learn from your failures and move on. One example is in using the computer. You will never really learn using the computer without making mistakes. Reading books and manuals about computers will not make a computer wizard out of you. But pressing the wrong key will tell you your mistake and that mistake will, in the long run, be a great learning experience.
The fear of making mistakes is dangerous. It can lead us to inaction and finally to destruction. One famous author said, "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."
The case of a true Christian given one talent by Christ in Matthew 25 shows the dangerous fear of failures. It could make us wicked and lead us to the lake of fire.
- "Then the man who had received one talent also approached and said, 'Master, I know you. You're a difficult man, reaping where you haven't sown and gathering where you haven't scattered seed. (Mat 25:24)
- So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. Look, you have what is yours.' (Mat 25:25)
Something is better than nothing; if we fail to show our courage to take risk in investing our God-given talents, at least we should not fail to allow others to use them in good business and in honest endeavors. The talent was God's money entrusted to each one of us, not only to keep, but to improve, in more ways than one. In the day of Judgment and accounting, the wicked and uncreative servants will be left without excuse, and those who now rely upon their own reasoning, God will use their own human reasoning, and their fear, to judge them to the lake of fire!
- But the fearful, and unbelieving ... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:8 KJV)
Charles Kettering once said, "You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stabbing your toe, but the more you stab your toe, the more chance you have of getting somewhere."
So it is back to the basic decision to act. To do something. Psychologists say that action, any kind of action--is also a tremendous cure for depression, even if it is no more than walking around the block. If you have always wanted to write, then write something--a short article or poem. Write as if it is going to be published in a book or newspaper. If you think you are a good tennis or basketball player, join some tournament and see how you fare with others. You may not win the top prize but think how much you will learn just by trying. Franklin Roosevelt once said, "It is common sense to take method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly. But above all, try something. It is the only way you will realize your God-given potentials."
3. MOVE BEYOND MISTAKES AND FAILURES. You Can Make and Unmake Mistakes
If something fails, our first thought is to hide it, and get rid of all the evidence, and to wash our hands as quickly as possible. This is not the right way to deal with mistakes and failures. Rather than abandon the failure immediately, we should move beyond it only after we spend time studying them from all angles. You may discover new techniques and opportunities.
- For seven times doth the righteous fall and rise, And the wicked stumble in evil. (Pro 24:16 YLT)
PROVERBS 24:16 versus MATTHEW 25:25. The DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED is The Difference Between Action With Mistakes Vs Inaction Without Mistakes
Notice carefully the contrast here. The RIGHTEOUS CHRISTIAN is neither afraid of, nor discouraged by his many mistakes and failures in life. He learned from his mistakes and use that lessons to improve and continue on with his Godly way of life.
The other Christian (in Matthew 25:24-25), did not take any action because he was afraid of mistakes and failures. Because of inaction, this person did not make mistakes, thereby depriving himself of the valuable lessons that can be derived from making mistakes. This person did not fail, nor did he succeed. This is one of the worst thing that could happen to a person: stunted growth, or zero growth at all! And this is totally unacceptable to the GOD OF GROWTH AND INCREASE! He was therefore labeled as wicked and now destined to destruction.
Knowing this fact, we should also give allowance and some tolerance to the mistakes of others. As people make mistakes, we should not despise them, or immediately punish them. Instead, we can observe and also extract lessons from them.
4. LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS
All human beings make mistakes. But it does not mean that all of us, human beings, have to go with the same mistakes. The main purpose why mistakes are allowed in us, is to teach us lessons of life. As long as we learn the lessons, whether the mistakes are committed by yourself or by others, the objective is done. There's no need for you to suffer the consequences of mistakes committed by others. We can learn from each other's mistakes.
Next time, understand clearly why you or other people make mistakes and try to avoid them. Making mistakes and correcting them push you toward the road to expertise and excellence.
5. DON'T ALLOW MISTAKES TO BECOME DEFEAT!
To be successful, we need to look at failure as a motivator. We could view our mistakes as the stepping-stones or the steps of a ladder. We should step on the stones to go upward, not downward. We must use our mistakes and the mistakes of others to the development and advancement of Godly character in us.
"Success is 99 percent failure." – Soichiro Honda
Some of the greatest failures and mistakes have led to success and good fortune. For example, the failure of certain glue to stick permanently, as its inventor had hoped, led to the creation of 3M's popular post-it-note pads.
On the other hand, fear of failure can lead to failure itself. A US company invented the popular Compact Disc (CD ) technology. But because of fear that this product might fail because consumers might not give up audio tapes and records, Japan was able to copy the CD technology and beat the US with their own technology.
Motivation, not defeat, is the key to using failure as a benefit to your physical and spiritual advantage. You have to stand back on your feet again. Just as success can lead to failure, failure can also lead to success, provided we have the right perception and attitude. Failure can also mean a "CLOSED DOOR" to your present career or business, and an OPEN DOOR to a new opportunity or direction in life. This is why we suggest the celebration of mistakes.
7. MAKE GOD YOUR LIFE AND BUSINESS PARTNER, AND ALLOW HIM TO DIRECT YOUR PATH
Here it is listed last, but actually this God-involvement technique is the FIRST AND THE LAST of the techniques listed in this important article. This technique and principle must encompass everything to guarantee success in all of our undertakings in life.
- LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. (Jer 10:23 HNV)
We cannot of ourselves do any thing for our own success, unless God work with us and command deliverance for us; for it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps, though he seems in his walking to be perfectly at liberty and to choose his own way.
We must all accept this vital truth to our lives, and mix faith with it, that we are not at our own disposal, but under a divine direction. The events in our lives are often overruled so as to be quite contrary to our intention and expectation. We are not masters of our own way, nor can we think that every thing should be according to our mind; we must therefore refer ourselves to God and acquiesce in his will.
- A man's steps are established by the LORD, and He takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the LORD holds his hand. (Psa 37:23-24)
WHEN WE MAKE MISTAKES WE SHOULD ASK GOD TO CORRECT US, TO SHOW US THE LESSONS THAT WE SHOULD LEARN
- LORD, correct me, but in measure: not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing. (Jer 10:24 HNV)
- There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Pro 14:12)
- There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death. (Pro 16:25)
The principles discussed in this article may take some time to getting used to. I hope that you agree that in order to succeed, you must accept – even promote – your mistakes. You must celebrate that you have with you a great teacher – like no other, the teacher that is your own mistakes, and the mistakes of others.
Remember your school days. Students make a lot of mistakes and failures in their studies and assignments. But we don't quit, but rather continue on. That's part of the training – to learn humility and accept correction. Very soon students are going to graduate, some on the top with honors. And only through a lot of mistakes!
NOTE: Bible verses used in this article is based on the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). If not, the quoted translation is indicated.