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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

High Achievers Are the Ones Who Make the Most Mistakes

High Achievers Are the Ones Who Make the Most Mistakes

The impact mistakes have had on most people’s lives is tremendous.

At school, you were taught to answer questions with model answers. At home, you were taught to be disciplined, have good manners and follow social etiquette. And at work, you’ve become accustomed to a constant expectation that you operate in a mistake-free manner!

The problem with all the above scenarios is that they punish mistakes. A teacher deducts marks for a wrong answer – a supervisor scolds people for failing to take the right action.

It’s no surprise, then, that from a very young age, people have been made to feel bad about making mistakes. Some have even felt like a complete failure. This constant negative feedback leads to most people desperately trying to live their lives without making any mistakes. It can actually become a compulsion. It may even lead to them trying to hide or lie about their mistakes.

But there is more to making mistakes than most have been led to believe.

The Unexpected Positive Side of Being Wrong

The truth is, by forever seeking to avoid mistakes – we actually end up making more mistakes!

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It’s time to start looking at mistakes from a different perspective. They aren’t the monster they’ve been made out to be. They’ve the remarkable ability to help bring about powerful and rapid personal growth.

If you try to avoid mistakes, then you’ll also be missing opportunities to experience something different from what you planned or expected. Imagine that you miss a connecting flight while traveling to an exotic location. By missing the flight, you are forced to stay for 24 hours in a destination that you’d never been to before. To your surprise, though, you find that the nearest city to the airport is picturesque, cosmopolitan and friendly.  In fact, during your time there – you begin to fall in love with everything the city has to offer. When you finally have to leave the city to go back to the airport, you feel genuinely sad. The city captivates your interest and warms your heart.

Clearly, if you hadn’t missed your flight, you would’ve never visited the city – and never discovered your immediate liking for it.

Life can be like that. Mistakes can lead to adventures and opportunities. And beyond that, mistakes can help you to understand how to make better decisions in future situations.

Making Mistakes Does Not Fend off Success, Avoiding Them Does

Unsuccessful people put the bulk of their focus and energy on avoiding mistakes, whereas successful people put the bulk of their focus and energy on making continual attempts at reaching their goals.

Jim Carrey, on his debut comic stand-up at a club called Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto, he was booed off stage. However, he didn’t let this break him. Instead, he used the experience as a wake up call to improve his performance. This wasn’t the only set back he endured. When auditioning for the Saturday Night Live 1980-81 season, he failed to land the part.[1] Again, he didn’t let this destroy his confidence or ambition, but instead he kept on pursing his dreams until he finally broke through to the mainstream in 1994 with the blockbuster movie “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”

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    Jim Carrey wasn’t so successful as a comic stand up at the very beginning.

    And then there is Michael Jordan. His profile on NBA’s website describes him as “the greatest basketball player of all time.”[2] And this is how most people think of him. However, Jordan himself said that:

    “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life.”

    But he clarified this statement by adding some vital information: “And that is why I succeed.

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      Each attempt they made was open to mistakes. With more attempts made, the more feedback they received, and the more chances they gained to do better.

      So, if you really want to avoid mistakes – attempt nothing and take no risks. Your record may remain clean, you’ll make few mistakes, but you’ll also have few achievements to write home about. In other words, avoiding mistakes is the easiest way to become and stay unsuccessful.

      From Making Mistakes to Mastering Mistakes

      Failed attempts are only futile if you don’t learn from them.

      Let’s say that you expect that mistakes will happen after you’ve made a choice. This is natural. You’re aware that choices come with risks, and risks can lead to mistakes. However, if you allow the same mistakes to occur time and time again, then you’re not learning or evolving – but instead are stuck in a rut. Albert Einstein said it well:

      “The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results.”

      A much better approach, is to analyze your mistakes, and to see if you can work out how to avoid them in the future. Put another way, make every attempt count and learn from it. By doing this, you’ll quickly overcome foolish mistakes, and begin to make real progress in your life.

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      As a hard-hitting example for you to think about, if you know that drunk driving can kill, and you still do it because you think it’s about “making more attempts and mistakes,” that’s a foolish act – not an attempt that will help you grow.

      On the other hand, if you plan a business project with some risky ideas, but expect there will be mistakes, then even if these efforts turn out to be unsuccessful, you’ll learn from them.

      A mistake is just a mis-take, start over by learning from your last mis-take.

      Making mistakes doesn’t equal failure. Not making any, however, will mean that you miss out on tons of attempts and learning opportunities. This guarantees failure.

      Be brave, be bold, and be prepared to make mistakes.

      Reference

      More by this author

      Leon Ho

      Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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      Last Updated on July 21, 2021

      17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

      17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

      If you are like most people, you probably have big goals and dreams that you would like to succeed in — you want to be the top in your career, live a healthy lifestyle, or flourish in your relationships.

      Everyone dreams of a positive future, but most people don’t realize the secret to a truly successful life:

      You determine your future in the way you spend your everyday moments. If you want to be a successful person, you must consistently develop good daily habits. As Aristotle pointed out:

      “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.

      Building positive daily habits is a huge challenge, but can you imagine the amazing things you could accomplish with just a little commitment and determination?

      Creating lasting, healthy habits is the real key difference between people who are successful in life and those who are unsuccessful.

      You might be wondering which specific habits make the biggest difference. Not to worry, I’ve compiled a comparison list to help you get a jump start on a successful future.

      1. Successful people embrace change. Unsuccessful people fear change.

      Change is a constant for all of humanity, and it is important that you develop a positive relationship with it.

      When unexpected or unwelcome changes arise, ask yourself how you can embrace it instead of running away. A few practical ways to reverse a change-fearing mindset include:

      • Take a moment to recognize and address any fears associated with the upcoming change.
      • Communicate with a person you trust about your negative feelings toward change.
      • Practice positive thinking, which you can read about in the next section.

      2. Successful people exude joy. Unsuccessful people think, say and do negative things.

      A joyful, positive disposition can seem like a distant reality in today’s cynical world, but it may be easier to achieve than you think. All you have to do is notice the good things around you and practice being thankful.

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      Mindfulness and gratitude are not just buzz words – choosing a positive attitude can honestly change your life. Many studies have found that thankfulness leads to greater happiness. Furthermore, research indicates that gratitude may even have a lasting positive impact on the brain and overall mental health.[1]

      3. Successful people forgive others. Unsuccessful people hold grudges.

      As a human being, you have likely been offended or hurt by others plenty of times. Don’t give in to the temptation to hold a grudge. Let it go.

      Note that forgiving someone does not equate to giving up your boundaries (which are very important) or even admitting that the offending party is right. You should choose to let go for your own peace of mind.

      4. Successful people track progress. Unsuccessful people just criticize.

      Some kinds of criticism, such as constructive criticism, are good for personal and professional development. The kind of criticism I’m talking about is the pessimistic, nagging, unhelpful variety. This is the kind of criticism in play when you are unfairly harsh to yourself or others.

      Toss unfounded criticisms aside and consider tracking your “wins” or your progresses, no matter how small. Take mental notes or keep a progress journal.

      If you have a solid sense of what you have achieved, you will be less tempted to be hard on yourself.

      5. Successful people share information, data and ideas. Unsuccessful people hoard.

      If you have useful information or generate brilliant ideas on the regular, your first instinct may be to keep it all to yourself for personal gain and solo recognition.

      Instead of hoarding bright ideas, share them with your team. Your talents will be on display for the team, and the team will be able to support you and make your ideas a reality.

      6. Successful people are humble. Unsuccessful people talk more than they listen.

      Humility is key. The ability to listen to other people, really listen and understand, is essential to success in both work and relationships — and to listen you have to be humble.

      Everyone has experienced the frustration of being in a one-sided conversation. When someone approaches you with a question or concern, put your own world aside for just a moment and give them the kindness of your full attention.

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      7. Successful people take risks. Unsuccessful people take the easy way out.

      The next time your heart is racing and you want to walk away, consider embracing the risk. You never know what might happen if you take a chance.

      Embracing risks looks like accepting the speaking engagement even though it seems a little scary. Success takes the courageous route, not the easy route.

      8. Successful people learn, improve and read every day. Unsuccessful people stop learning.

      Instead of binge-watching a show tonight, save an hour before bed to read a book and expand your mind.

      Unsuccessful people are afraid to be flexible – they don’t challenge themselves to learn new things. Avoid this pitfall by exposing yourself to new thoughts and ideas every day.

      9. Successful people handle problems well. Unsuccessful people act before they think.

      The next time you run into a problem or even an emergency, try to work through your initial panic reaction with a few deep breaths.

      Instead of acting rashly, think through your next actions as quickly but as logically as you can.

      Learning to handle problems thoughtfully is an absolutely essential tool in the successful person’s toolbox (that’s you!).

      10. Successful people accept responsibility for their failures. Unsuccessful people blame others.

      Along with a previous tip about humility, this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever learn to do – but also the most rewarding. When you’ve failed, you must fight the urge to pass the blame. Successful people are able to fail honestly and gracefully.

      And, hey, don’t feel bad about failing. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed too many times to count. It’s all a part of the process.

      You can check out this article for more tips on how to fail well:

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      How Failure Helps You To Succeed and Grow

      11. Successful people work with passion and commitment. Unsuccessful people have a sense of entitlement.

      A short and sweet lesson for you:

      You should never expect to achieve the things you want without working hard.

      Follow your passion and stay committed to pursuing it. Work hard and stick to your habits every day. You’ll earn your reward.

      12. Successful people spend time with the right people. Unsuccessful people think they already know it all.

      A lot of people miss out on useful relationships and information sharing because they think they can do it all alone.

      Spend time with people who inspire you, spur you to be a better person, and remind you that you can’t go it alone.

      13. Successful people make to-do lists and maintain proper life balance. Unsuccessful people waste their time.

      Ah, time management. Unsuccessful people never master the art of organization and planning.

      Here are a few tips for you when it comes to time management:

      • Make to-do lists. Seriously, this will help you. Make time to do it every morning, evening, or whenever you are able.
      • Keep track of your time. Are you happy with the way you are currently balancing things? What changes can you make?
      • Keep a calendar full of your long-term goals (see next tip).

      14. Successful people write down goals and think long term about their burning desires. Unsuccessful people get distracted every day.

      Why is it so important to keep a long-term goal calendar? Here’s the deal:

      The things you are passionate about today need a backbone.

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      Give your passionate ideas sustainability by writing down goals and staying on task instead of succumbing to distraction.

      15. Successful people compliment others. Unsuccessful people try to bring others down to their level.

      There is no greater confidence than saying “no” to sudden jealous or envious feelings and choosing to sincerely admire someone’s talents instead.

      Unsuccessful people live in a world driven by competition, but successful people know that building people up is far more rewarding than bringing them down.

      16. Successful people want others to succeed. Unsuccessful people secretly hope they fail.

      In the same vein as the point above, this tip is all about good intentions.

      Care for the people around you. Encourage them toward their successes. Hoping that others fail will not help you at all.

      17. Successful people know their purpose and mission. Unsuccessful people don’t know what they want to be.

      The last thing that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is one of the most important:

      Keep your mission in mind.

      Don’t be swayed to and fro by passing emotions and events. Know who you are and pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.

      Final thoughts

      Above all, stay confident. Truly believe that you can be and are successful. Strive to prove it in your day-to-day habits and activities!

      What are you waiting for? Choose one of the habits above and get started today.

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      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Berkeley University of California: How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

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