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20 Reasons Why Not Making Mistakes Is The Biggest Mistake In Life

20 Reasons Why Not Making Mistakes Is The Biggest Mistake In Life

Mistakes are the best teachers. You would be clueless without them. Mistakes are also innate sources of wisdom that you acquire at birth and continue to make throughout life. How else would you know how to walk if you never fell down and figured out how to pick yourself up again?

Yet somewhere along the winding path of life, mistakes got a bad rap. They became evil, mental monsters that make you feel like a loser. And it’s true mistakes can choke you until you cannot breathe; just the thought of a possible failure can cause emotional paralysis. But okay, maybe you’re disappointed, embarrassed, or ashamed, so what?  Pick yourself up, shake it off, and realize you just learned a valuable lesson that will sustain you for the rest of your life.

Here are 20 reasons why not making mistakes could be a huge mistake:

1. You lose the experience.

You need to experience what doesn’t work. That’s how science experiments and research are conducted. When you do apply this in your life, the results of the experience stick. They enter your subconscious and stay there. If you don’t make a mistake, you cannot learn.

2. You can’t reach the top without them.

Mistakes are building blocks, each one laying the foundation for future success. As Mark Cuban said, “With every effort, I learned a lot. With every mistake and failure, not only mine, but of those around me, I learned what not to do.”

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3. You stop the clock.

Success doesn’t happen overnight (except in viral videos). It takes time, and during that time lots of things go wrong. Kiss success good-bye if you are afraid to try new things and make mistakes!

4. You listen to the negative voices in your head.

If you give in the negative attitude, of “I can’t, I’m afraid to fail,” say hello to a boring life.

5. You stagnate and underachieve.

Nothing good can happen unless you are willing to make mistakes. Follow your bliss.

6. You listen to the negative comments of other people and let them rule your future.

Naysayers are always ready and waiting to squash your dreams. Allowing negative comments to rule your choices interferes with your forward motion. As an example, you can thank angry chef George Crum for our all-time favorite snack, the potato chip. George lost his temper when a customer sent back a plate of fried potatoes because they weren’t cooked enough. Insulted, he cut the potatoes thin, crisped them until they were almost burnt, and then heavily salted them. He sent them back out to the customer thinking they would hate them, but instead, culinary history was made. Thank you George!

7. You miss the chance to become strong.

You never will know just how strong you are until you have the opportunity to recover from a mistake.

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8. You miss the chance to become wise.

Again, you will never know how smart and clever you are, until you work through a mistake, then bounce back, and grow from it.

9. You expect perfection.

Things are never perfect. Life is imperfect. All of life is a series of mistakes.

10. You become a quitter, not a winner.

If you let one mistake control you, you set a pattern of giving in. Bill Gates remarked, “We didn’t miss cell phones, but the way that we went about it didn’t allow us to get the leadership. So it’s clearly a mistake.” He didn’t let it stop him from becoming a gazillionaire from his other endeavors though.

11. You will never learn anything if you don’t learn from your mistakes.

Just because things didn’t work out, doesn’t mean something good didn’t come from it. Wonderful things can happen from mistakes. For example, Percy Spencer realized that the candy bar in his pocket had melted when he was conducting a radar-related research project. He then tried it on popcorn, and gave us the oh-so-helpful microwave oven.

12. You let your negative emotions control your destiny.

You allow negativity to live in your head. You can never achieve happiness if negative emotions rule your life.

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13. You think what happened in the past will happen in the future.

Wrong! You can’t achieve success until you’ve had several failures. Life changes. Nothing ever stays the same, even when you want it to.

14. You become a negative role model to other people.

Getting up after a mistake is the real triumph. People are watching you. Maybe your kids—or co-workers if you’re a team leader—are watching you. What kind of role model do you want to be?

15. You lose the chance to be a positive role model.

The experience of the mistake isn’t the only teacher, it’s whether you sink or swim after it. Great leaders are strong swimmers. Michael Jordan noted after being criticized for making a bad drafting call for the Bobcats, “I think we’ve grown from it. I’ve grown from it and hopefully down the road when you make a choice, you try to make a better choice.”

16. You deprive yourself of the benefits of repetition.

Practice builds skill. The only ones who achieve success are those who are willing to repeatedly practice the same behavior, skill, or action until it is perfected. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hour Rule,” greatness requires at least 10,000 hours of repetition. The key to success in any field is practicing a specific task 20 hours a week for 10 years.

17. No pain, no gain.

After a hard workout at the gym, your whole body aches, and you love it. Why? Because you feel proud of how much effort you put into improving yourself. You even enjoyed the how much it hurt while you were doing it. (Even though you didn’t look so happy at the time).

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18. You won’t discover your chutzpah.

That is, the courage, perseverance, strength, and resilience to push through the tough stuff.

19. You succumb to your fears.

You become frozen anticipating failure. You let fear rule your life and determine your future.

20. You don’t get to be brave.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” Bruce Lee

Living without mistakes is living only half of a life. There is nothing greater than looking back on your past experiences and seeing how you overcame them, how you learned from them, and how you became a better, happier, smarter, braver, and stronger person because of them.

The list of successful mistake makers is endless. Losers are simply people who don’t pick themselves up after mistakes.

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June Silny

ADHD Coach, Writer, ADDitude Magazine featured contributor

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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