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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 May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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