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4 Steps to Learn from your Mistakes

4 Steps to Learn from your Mistakes

Myth busting time !! Making mistakes do not deny us our glory. On the contrary, it gets us closer to the top. If you know precisely how to learn from your mistakes it can shoot you up, beating many others in the traditional rat-race.

I don’t know much, but I know optimization and productivity. In one similar post, I had discussed how your bad memory can help you propel upwards. Here is yet another hack which can make you, in a very short time, extremely quick, efficient and error-free in your profession. The trick is to know your errors consciously!! Follow the steps given to learn from your mistakes, and thank me later.

What am I really talking about?

To understand what I am trying to talk about, we need to delve a little deeper into how our brain works.

In Feb 1996, in a historical chess match between man and machine, reigning World Champion Gary Kasparov defeated the Deep Blue, a computer program developed by IBM over six years and with Millions of Dollars of research. Now, While Deep Blue calculated about 100 million possible chess combinations in a second and foresee up to 25 moves in advance, Kasparov could only manage about 3 moves per second.

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How then did he defeat the Supercomputer? Well, the answer lies in how our brain learns things.

When we make a mistake, a set of neurons fires up in our brain to establish a new neural pathway to prevent us from repeating those mistakes. A bad memory is formed as a barrier. Stronger the memory, lesser is the chance of repeating mistakes. This system is so fool-proof that in a matter of a few hours, our mind can be configured never to go down the wrong way again.

Deep Blue was dealing in algorithms while Kasparov simply had his memories to prevent him from making wrong moves. He had a ‘sense’ stopping him from making wrong moves. Each such decision involved complex algorithms and numerous small calculations, which simply comes to us as instinctive results. In other words, if you learn from your mistakes, your brain can solve unimaginably complex and difficult problems.

So if the human mind, undoubtedly the most sophisticated machine in the world does it, why can’t you learn from your mistakes? Well, everyone who makes a mistake does not necessarily come out effective after that. That’s because there is a precise way to learn – and here is how.

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The four-step strategy to learn from your mistakes

Let us explain each step with a real life example

  • Imagine a car mechanic named Andrew. His job is to check all cars for problems. He follows a checklist which involves everything which can possibly go wrong in a vehicle.

Step 1: Note down your mistakes

Every time you do a job for the first time, note down exactly the difficulties you faced, and what you did to overcome them. I am asking you to physically note it down using a pen and a paper. No shortcuts.

This may also be your PC or your phone. Improvise. Just one rule – every time you make a mistake, note it down.

  • Andrew follows the checklist diligently. It takes him hours. He finds that most Merc Benz cars have transmission problems. He keeps a record of that.

Step 2: Learn from the mistakes of your peers

Don’t wait to make all the mistakes.

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Use the global information bank of mistakes called experience feedback. Learn from colleagues. Watch closely for things that went wrong, how they tackled problems. Learn from others in similar professions, or from the internet. Again – keep a note.

  • Andrew digs deeper online and from the feedback of other garages, and finds that among a few things which are specifically giving problems to Merc Benz car owners, are transmissions. His purview shortens.

Step 3: Make your list of things to check

Yes, you guessed right. This list will be a combination of every possible error which you have come across in Steps 1 and 2. Here is where you begin to learn from your mistakes. A bit of imagination is required to imagine what can go wrong by extension too. Mention anything unexpected.

  • Now when Andrew sees a Merc Benz, he knows exactly what to focus on. He follows his own list of priorities. Since the cars have transmission problems he knows that he has to check the accelerators too, which are prone to trouble by extension.

What takes others three hours takes him a few minutes now. His colleagues are dumbfounded.

Step 4: Never be complacent

Word of caution: Many people have gone complacent at this point. You must understand that while your efficiency is definitely climbing, your problems can come from unexpected corners.

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  • Although Andrew knows that most cars will have similar problems, he still follows the checklist. though he checks everything, he just knows which one to focus on.

As you probably have guessed, Andrew will soon be the Merc Benz specialist and get noticed. Not because he is extremely intelligent. He simply knew his mistakes.

Know your mistakes

Yes, I made a lot of mistakes.

What saved me in the long run though is to know and understand those mistakes consciously, instead of trying to deny or justify them. Young trainees out at sea who work for me make their share of mistakes too. And I know that just like me, those guys will also be champions. All they need is a little guidance on which way to look. And that’s my job!!

Teach your juniors to learn from their mistakes so that make you proud one day!! Isn’t it ironical that we have known the process backward all along? We do not make mistakes while we learn, we learn because we make mistakes.

Featured photo credit: imworld.aufeminin.com via imworld.aufeminin.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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