Don’t let the fear of making mistakes stop you from growing and achieving more in life, says XPOSÉ Magazine contributor and relationship coach Fionnuala Wall

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It?s Okay to Make Mistakes

18th Mar 16 | Xpose Magazine

Don’t let the fear of making mistakes stop you from growing and achieving more in life, says XPOSÉ Magazine contributor and relationship coach Fionnuala Wall

Mistakes! It’s fascinating to see that this mere two-syllable word can strike fear into the minds of many. Why is it that this word is associated with negativity, and what benefits would looking at it positively have for us all? The ramifications of potential failure (via school test results for instance) were ingrained in us from a young age and society enforced these notions even more so as we got older. We learned to become cautious of trying; for fear that it would lead to a mistake. In our minds, we learned to associate making mistakes with fear. This led us to nestle up comfortably in our quarters of the comfort zone. We think it’s the best place to be because we will rarely try, and hence never meet full on Mr. Mistake. However, the irony is, being cosily nestled up in our comfort zone quarters is actually the mistake. In order to develop ourselves further, trying is a requirement. Of course, the more times we try, the higher the likelihood of failure. But that is where the gold is found—in the lessons we learn from making mistakes. These lessons give us insight into how we can develop further and add to our mountain of wisdom.

Celebrate Mistakes

A UCLA-based study published in a 2009 edition of the Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that students who were allowed to guess incorrectly at questions remembered them better than students who simply studied the answer and were asked about it later. In this way they were conditioned to think that the possibility of failure or making mistakes is a positive thing to move forward in their learning. The same holds true in office settings. Facebook, as an employer, is renowned for giving its employees incentives for attempting something new, regardless of whether they succeed. Both of these cases show that feeling free to pitch a ‘bad’ idea or taking a ‘faulty’ shot at something can lead to high achievement, high creativity and high innovation.

A New Attitude

Come up with a new attitude: making a mistake doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. You and the mistake are not the same thing. You learned something valuable from it and can now move forward. It means you can now focus on a solution and be far further ahead than if you’d never allowed yourself to make the mistake in the first place. Furthermore, lots of times, they’re not even mistakes. Adopting the mindset of inventor Thomas Edison certainly adds more value to making mistakes. When asked how he felt after failing 10,000 times, his reply was “I didn’t fail 10,000 times, I found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”

Learning from it

Mistakes teach you how to be happy, how to live without regrets, how to forgive and help you to discover who you really are. Recognise that whatever you do post-mistake is a chance to rectify and improve your life. The fear of being nothing, achieving nothing and becoming nothing needs to be way bigger than the fear of making mistakes. George Bernard Shaw once said, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” Getting bogged down by the possibility of failure ensures a safe but boring life in which there is no chance for disappointment, but more importantly, no chance for greatness, which is what we are here for—to let our greatness shine. So go for it, sprinkle some mistakes on your cake of life. It will taste far better for it!   

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