Yes you did read the title correctly, I want you to embrace making mistakes and practice making them! How does it make you feel when you think about making a mistake? What's the story you tell yourself about making mistakes? Is it that it's good or is it that making a mistake means you've failed, or does it make you feel vulnerable and at risk of being judged?
I'm going to go on and explain to you exactly why I think that making mistakes is something we should practice doing more, but first I want to talk to you a little bit about mindset. Whether you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset will potentially have a massive difference as to how you view making a mistake.
If you have a fixed mindset you view basic qualities such as intelligence and talent as fixed. That what you're born with is what you have, it's static and you'll never have more than that. Kind of limiting hey?
People with a fixed mindset may have a tendency to:
Give up easily when they come across an obstacle
Feel threatened by the success of others
See criticism as unhelpful and choose to ignore it
Sees effort as fruitless and not worthwhile
On the other hand if you have a growth mindset you view basic qualities like intelligence and talent as something that can be developed through effort and hard work. That the amount that you have when you're born is simply a starting point.
People with a growth mindset may have a tendency to:
Relish and embrace challenges
Persist when they come across an obstacle
Celebrate and find inspiration from others success
Welcome and learns from criticism
Sees effort as the pathway to mastery
(if you haven't already, have a read of Carol Dweck's 'Mindset' if you want to find out more about fixed and growth mindsets).
Now reading those descriptions, you may find that you definitely resonate with one type of mindset over the other or you may find that you're a mixture of both, but I'm hoping that you can see that a growth mindset is where development can happen from. It's also entirely possible to challenge your beliefs around mindset and learn to see things from the aspect of a growth mindset, if you choose to.
So going back to the idea of making a mistake, if you see it from the point of view of a growth mindset, making a mistake is a good thing because....
It helps us to gain knowledge - we now know what doesn't work which can help us move forward
It helps us to build resilience
Mistakes help us to find new ideas
They give us courage. We become stronger every time we make a mistake and are brave enough to acknowledge it
It triggers our creativity (because if what we’re trying isn’t working we want to find a solution and so get creative with it!)
Mistakes teach us about humility. Making a mistake can be very humbling. It reminds us we’re only human and mistakes are inevitable.
They help us to better understand ourselves. We learn to reflect on our mistakes and by overcoming our shortcomings we become stronger people as we come to know our strengths and weaknesses. It wouldn’t be as easy for us to understand ourselves if we didn’t make mistakes.
Oh my word, look at all the good things we gain from making a mistake!
So why am I even talking about this, why did I choose to talk about making mistakes in this blog post? Well I'm sure in the past you may have tried to make changes in your life or tried to achieve a goal and you may have told yourself you failed. 'I tried that and it didn't work', who has ever said that before? So the reason I wanted to talk about this topic was because I wanted to help you to see that making mistakes is bloody brilliant! You’ve just learnt a way that doesn’t work, awesome, now you can try another way and if that doesn’t work, you’ve got even more knowledge to move you forward.
Every mistake is a step forward, not a step back. Read that again!
If you embrace a growth mindset, embrace vulnerability and embrace being a learner you are going to be propelled forward at a far faster rate and you're way more likely to succeed!
Vulnerability is a scary word for many and it absolutely was for me for a long time. But now vulnerability is one of my core values. It's something I embrace and welcome (well quite often it’s more after I’ve been vulnerable than in the middle of it that I welcome and embrace it!). Since I’ve had that view, I’ve achieved so much more in my life, I’ve been happier and healthier.
Being vulnerable helps you to extend your comfort zone bit by bit. Imagine your comfort zone as a rug and every time you take a step off the rug, that rug grows because once you’ve taken that step it's no longer out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone expands as you’ve put yourself out there, been vulnerable and so your area of comfort is now bigger. Every little step you take outside of your comfort zone makes that rug bigger. And there’s no limit to the size that rug can get!
Imagine the growth and excitement that you can create in your life by taking small steps to expand your comfort zone. But in order to do that, you have to accept that mistakes are inevitable and if you embrace making mistakes, you won’t have a problem with making them.
What would your life look like if you embraced making a mistake and embraced vulnerability? What could open up for you? What thoughts and beliefs will help you to embrace mistakes and vulnerability?
So today I'm inviting you to do just that. To embrace making mistakes and to practice it by putting yourself out there, trying things you may have been too scared to try in the past because now you know all the good stuff that comes from doing that.
What small step can you take today to start to embrace this new belief that making mistakes is brilliant?
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Create possibilities, create opportunities but don't create regrets!
Published 1 February 2021