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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

      Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively and Easily How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life How to Set Professional Development Goals for Success Social Learning How Social Learning Helps You Learn Faster and Easier How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

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      Last Updated on September 24, 2020

      Feeling Like a Failure? 10 Simple Things to Help You Rise Again

      Feeling Like a Failure? 10 Simple Things to Help You Rise Again

      The idea of feeling like a failure grips us at our most vulnerable internal place—our inner sense of self-esteem and self-love. Although intuitively we know that in reaching high, we are guaranteed some degree of failure, when we fall short, that knowledge offers little or no consolation.

      When we fail at something, all too often we think globally rather than in temporary terms. We think that we not only failed, but that we are failures. Feelings of unworthiness drag us down, leading to missteps and setbacks, defining us rather than merely offering feedback and educating us with useful information moving forward.

      The good news is that we can build on our failures on the road to success.

      Even if we know that failure is surmountable, it does not change the way we feel about ourselves when we experience it. Failure can take a toll on our self-esteem and feelings of self-love, diminishing our sense of optimism about our future.

      So how can we feel better about ourselves? Below are 10 acts of self-love to try when you are feeling like a failure.

      1. Forgive Yourself

      The ability to forgive is perhaps the greatest gift we can give to ourselves to help us recover from our regrets and missteps.

      Instead of beating yourself up for not knowing what is so obvious now, see yourself as a work in progress and give yourself the gift of forgiveness. You can’t see into the future, so you can’t plan every step to perfection. Give yourself a break and allow room for mistakes.

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      Try a loving-kindness meditation to prepare yourself for forgiveness. This will open your heart up to the possibility of accepting your mistakes.

      2. Practice Self-Compassion

      Self-compassion[1] is perhaps the most important element of self-esteem and resilience. It used to be thought that achievement and success—rising above the norm—was the road to high self-esteem.

      However, that road to self-esteem is far too conditional and assures that anyone at or below the norm is not as worthy or special. Self-compassion gives all people—high achievers as well as lower achievers—the assurance that they are worthy of love anyway, with no conditions.

      3. Stop Judging Yourself

      Suspending the labels you put on yourself is an act of self-love. Instead of calling yourself “a failure,” be more specific and less global[2].

      Feeling like a failure? Talk yourself up!

        Feeling like a failure does not have to define you and your worth. Change your self-talk from “I’m a failure” to “I could not get things to work out this time” or “I made some mistakes and will use this experience as stepping stones going forward.” Label the experience for what it is instead of labeling yourself based on one mistake.

        4. Turn Your Failures Into Goals

        Instead of saying “I failed at my marriage,” you can say “I had trouble communicating in my marriage and am learning to communicate better now.”

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        The first statement is anchored in the past that cannot be changed, while the second has an eye to the future and is more empowering of what you can do now. If you can identify what caused your past failures, you can work to develop goals based on those shortcomings.

        5. Give Yourself a Hug

        Instead of letting your inner critic have full reign, how about just giving yourself a hug?

        Science has suggested that hugging increases production of oxytocin, one of the feel-good hormones, which may also help reduce stress and depression[3].

        We all need hugs sometimes—especially from ourselves! If this feels like too much, give yourself a mental hug by writing down five things you like or love about yourself. This will give you the same sense of warmth and acceptance.

        6. Imagine Yourself as a Young Child

        Keep in mind that no one thinks of children as worthless or unworthy of love or happiness. And the truth is that we possess the same worth that we had when we were born.

        Sometimes we need to look behind the scars and wounds to see that preciousness and innate worth is still inside of us.

        Thinking of yourself as a child may also shift your mind and allow you to offer more forgiveness. Try to realize that you are still like that child, growing as you move through life.

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        7. Switch Your Mindset From Victim to Victor

        When you’re feeling like a failure, you see yourself as a victim of the past instead of focusing on your resilience and ability to spring back.

        After all, it’s not how many times we are beaten down and fail that matters. What really matters is how many times we get back up and try again, each time a bit wiser. Try to leave the victim mindset behind[4] and view yourself as a victor after overcoming failures to move on to something bigger and better.

        8. Become More Mindful

        Mindfulness is not just about meditating or breathing deeply and quietly in isolation. Rather, it is staying fully in the present in our daily lives with non-judgmental awareness in whatever you do.

        When you are mindful, you stay rooted in the present instead of looking back at your past missteps or feeling anxious about the future. As the saying goes, “Today is a gift, and that’s why they call it the present.”

        9. Calm Yourself with a Calming Box

        Sometimes we need something tangible to sooth us when we are feeling like a failure. As a therapist, I would sometimes have my clients create a self-soothing box to help them cope in stressful times.

        Using actual objects that serve to distract and self-soothe can provide soothing touchstones.

        A journal, a stress ball, or a polished stone to remind you of your self worth are all examples of things that can be placed inside a calming box and used to soothe you when you’re feeling down.

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        10. Connect With Others

        When people feel like a failure, all too often they isolate themselves, closing themselves up instead of opening up to others, but this is a fast way to damage your mental health.

        Seeking social support is one of the best choices you can make when you feel like a failure. Getting another person’s perspective will help you stop the tunnel vision that distorts your self-view.

        Asking for help and having the courage to open yourself up instead of closing yourself down will pave the way not only for avoiding loneliness, but it will also deepen your connections with others.

        This short TED Talk with Robert Reffkin offers some tips on how to create stronger connections to enhance your life:

        Final Thoughts

        These 10 tips to stop feeling like a failure will serve as a springboard for a resilient and full life. Instead of focusing on the failure that comes with falling short, be proud that you dared to pursue your dreams with courage and enthusiasm.

        We must stop thinking in all-or-nothing, global ways, so that our mistakes and failures become stepping stones for success rather than millstones around our neck.

        Use failures to help you move closer and closer to success.

        More Tips for When You’re Feeling Like a Failure

        Featured photo credit: Ethan Sykes via unsplash.com

        Reference

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