Monday, December 8, 2008

Making Your Omelette: How to Learn From Your Mistakes - Mark J Holland

“Remember: you only have to succeed the last time.”
- Brian Tracy

Everyone makes mistakes. The good news is: failure can actually be good for you! Imagine for a moment that you consider taking on this belief “There is no failure only feedback”. The best way- and sometimes the only way- to learn how to make changes in your life and reach your goals is by figuring out how not to do things.
There is a process you can use to learn from your mistakes. The more you learn, the closer you will be to reaching your goals in life.

Give Yourself Permission
You know you’re going to make mistakes, especially if you’re trying to do something you’ve never done before. In order to be prepared for the inevitability of mishaps and misadventures, tell yourself that when you make a mistake, it’s still okay- and you’re not going to let mistakes stop you.

This is part of the process of instilling a positive mindset. When you know what to expect, it’s harder for surprises to set you back in your journey to reach your goals. Keep in mind that it is all right to make mistakes, and doing so is not the end of the world. The only people who don’t make mistakes are people who don’t attempt to do anything in the first place. Don’t be the person who regrets never even attempting to accomplish your goals because you were afraid of mistakes.

Make Interesting Mistakes

Once again: you’re going to make mistakes. When this happens, you will learn more by making interesting mistakes rather than stupid ones.

You may be wondering what, exactly, is an interesting mistake? The more complex and challenging your ultimate goal is the more spectacular your “Feedback” will be. The person who experiences a spectacular failure (“Feedback”) is far more likely to realize spectacular success. Here’s a quick example:

STUPID MISTAKE: Stubbing your toe on the rake you left lying in the back yard.

INTERESTING MISTAKE: Turning $30 worth of powdered sugar and chocolate chips into inedible bricks while trying to start your chocolate-making company because you misread the thermometer.

The first mistake will teach you to put your tools away when you’re done using them, but this is something you probably should have already known. The second mistake, however, is far more valuable to you. It teaches you how not to read a thermometer, and you will never make the same mistake again. Now you’re one step closer to realizing your dream to start a chocolate making company. What will your next mistake be?

‘Fess Up

The ability to admit that you’ve made a mistake is crucial to the learning process. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to announce your mistake to the world. However, you do have to be honest with yourself. Owning up to your mistakes is important, not only in your attempts to learn from them, but in the entire process of using positive thinking.

When you admit your mistakes to yourself, be careful not to judge your actions harshly. Your thoughts should not be along the lines of I screwed this up, and I’m never going to get this right. Don’t let your mistakes teach you not to learn from the feedback. Instead, think I made a mistake, and now I know not to do that again. The biggest lesson in making mistakes can be found in your taking responsibility for them, and then doing something to correct what went wrong.
Pinpoint Your Error

“For want of a nail, the horseshoe was lost...”
- Nursery rhyme (anonymous)

Speaking of what went wrong...do you know why you made the mistake? You cannot learn anything from your mistakes if you don’t know why it occurred. If things go wrong, and it isn’t clear to you what happened, backtrack along the path that brought you to the error and figure out where you strayed.

James R. Chiles, in his book Inviting Disaster: Tales from the Edge of Technology, relates the sordid tale of a floating dormitory in the North Sea built for offshore oil workers. During one night, the dormitory rolled over in the water and killed over a hundred people. The engineers responsible for building the dormitory raced to find an explanation, and ultimately discovered that one small crack in the support structure, which had been painted over instead of properly repaired, was responsible for the chain of events leading to the disaster.

Discovering the origin of your own mistakes will help you avoid potential disaster. Take the responsibility to investigate your mistakes thoroughly, so you can avoid the snowball effect one small error can have.

Talk About It

Though you don’t have to confess your mistakes, it is sometimes helpful to talk over your troubles with a sympathetic ear- particularly if that ear belongs to a person who knows something about the goal you’re trying to reach.

If you’re having trouble getting through something, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Seek out an expert or someone you know who’s been through the same experience you’re having, tell them what you feel you’re doing wrong, and listen to what they have to say. Often the most valuable advice we receive comes from unexpected sources, so don’t hesitate to ask someone else.

Can’t find an expert? The simple act of talking to a friend or loved one about your troubles can be the catalyst you need to keep going despite your mistakes. You may be able to work out exactly what you need to change in your approach as you discuss what you’ve been doing aloud; or you might simply end up feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to tackle the problem again.

Keep Good Records

Mistakes may not seem very amusing to you while you’re making them, but some day you’ll be able to look back and laugh. You will also be able to look back and learn. By keeping a detailed log of your progress, mistakes and all, you will have a solid blueprint you can follow over and over again to reach your objectives.
Following is a sample error log. You can use this format, or create your own, as long as you remember how to read it!

ERROR LOG: Replacing interior wall with built-in bookshelves
DAY PROJECT STEP LESSONS LEARNED FROM ERRORS MADE
1 Remove existing plasterboard wall Check to make sure no breakable objects on opposite side before using sledge.
2 Cut, fit and install backing for shelving unit Be sure entrance door to house is wide enough to accommodate lumber before attempting to bring inside.
3 Install shelf brackets Measure shelf distance before installing brackets. Nothing fits on 3” wide shelf.
3 Cut and fasten shelves Do not use rotary saw on couch.
4 Buy new couch See previous error.

When you follow the process to learn from your mistakes, you will notice exponential growth in your mental garden. Mistakes are part of life; without them, we would have no discovery- and not much to laugh about.


How can you Take Immediate Control of your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny?.... make an appointment today with Mark Holland NLP Coach…

• As your NLP Coach, I’ll help you discover what’s really most important to you in your life.
• Then I’ll help you design a plan to achieve those things.
• I’ll work with you to eliminate any obstacles or blocks that stand in your way.
• I’ll partner with you all the way to success.
• Then I’ll celebrate with you!


• Also you can Learn Advanced Communications Skills to Influence others with Integrity and Ease.
• Learn the Structure of Rapport and How to create it in Seconds.
• Read Body Language and Voice, Understanding what is going on Beneath the Surface.
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• Develop new unconscious habits that are consistent with the goals you want to achieve, and give you some tools you can use to immediately increase your sales.

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Copyright 2008 Mark J Holland.
All Rights reserved.
http://www.markholland.com.au/
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