The Importance of Learning from Mistakes



If there is one thing that everyone has in common, it is that we all make mistakes.  However, not all of us understand the importance of learning from mistakes.  Today I will delve a little bit into this thought and share some perspective with you.

Learning From Your Mistakes

Mistakes are not trash!  They are an opportunity to learn and grow!

We all learn from our mistakes to some degree as it is a natural mechanic for us to do so.  However, taking that to a more conscious level can be very beneficial in your journey this life.  More often than not, this is one of our most powerful learning tools.

From a young age we use trial and error to begin our journey through life.  Whether it is learning how to walk with our first steps or whether it is learning what is an appropriate way to interact in social situations, we are always remembering internally what works best for us.  In other words, we are products of our experiences both positive and negative.

One of the most important things you need to know is that we all make mistakes.  What makes the difference is when you learn how to accept your mistakes and take ownership for them.  Once you do this you greatly increase your opportunity to learn and put yourself in a position to not have to repeat the mistake.

Often you will see people repeatedly make the same mistake over and over.  When someone is doing this they are denying the fact of the mistake.  Once they do take ownership of it though, you will notice that the repetition of it will cease.  You see once we can admit to and learn from a mistake, then we will no longer be doomed to repeat it.

Learning From Other’s Mistakes

It wasn’t until I lost my job, that I began to really look at my life in greater detail.

This is something that I myself took longer in life to really come to realize just how this aspect works.  It wasn’t until I started to take a more in depth look at my life and the path I had taken to get to where I was.  Even then, I didn’t fully realize what I was doing.

I had become thankful for several events and people in my life that were at the time considered negative.  From people that just did not respect me to losing a very well paying job, I began to appreciate them instead of harboring ill will against them.

First, I had realized after losing a good job how to better manage my financial situation.  I had also been sent down a path of self discovery and improvement because of this loss.  A few years later and I was telling everyone how thankful I was for losing that job instead of not being happy about it.

Before I learned my lesson, anger would often consume me.

Secondly, there were several people throughout my life in my younger years that for whatever reason paid me no respect.  This was something that at the time I really struggled with and it often made me very angry.  Fast forward to more recent times and once again I have become thankful that these people were in my life.

You see it was the imperfections in the others that actually led to me gaining strength, knowledge, and character.  I respected people more now because I understood how it felt to be treated disrespectfully.  I am more fair with others in the workplace because I understand it is not always fair.  I have gained a ton of knowledge and understanding from experiencing these failures and mistakes by others.

Failure Means One Step Closer to Success!

Humanity has long been plagued fear of failure.  However, this is right along the same lines as learning from our mistakes.  You see we fail at things by making mistakes when we attempt to do them and with each failure we learn how not to do something.  With each failure we then get one step closer to succeeding at our goal.

With each failure, you are one step closer to success!

So how do we get over this fear of failure?  By understanding that failure is just a natural learning process and one that we all traverse through.  Just like learning from mistakes, it was mistakes or trial and error that led to the failure.

What this all boils down to is having the right perspective for the situation.  Sure we don’t want to fail, but it is going to happen even to the most successful people.  By making a conscious effort to take ownership of your actions and learn from them, you can take a negative experience and make something positive out of it.

Why is This All so Important?

When I look at the world right now I see a war of Negativity versus Positivity.  It feels like we are on the brink of being able to take that next step as a civilization and move forward in a more positive manner.  With each individual that learns from their mistakes and embraces their failures, the army of positivity grows!

This is how one person can make a difference in the world.  By being accountable and setting a positive example, you tip the scales ever so slightly in a positive direction for all of us.  The more of us that follow these examples the more the scale tips in a positive direction.

Life is a balance of Positives & Negatives
Life is a balance of Positives & Negatives

Once enough of us get on the right side of the scale, then humanity itself can begin to learn from our collective mistakes and failures.  This will be the key for us to move forward into a better world rather than to regress back into a dark age.

Share Your Story…

Let me get things started here with a story of my own to share.

“When I first became a retail store manager I was excited to lead my team to success.  However, I would soon find out that it was not as easy I as thought it would be.

I had seen how many other managers had acted in my region and I thought I could roll right along like they were.  I started not being as punctual as I used to be and soon after I paid the consequences.

I made a mistake with not being on time and paid the price for it.  However I did learn from it!

First my employees started running late as well.  You see they were quite happy to see my example and took that as flexibility to do what they wanted to rather than what they were supposed to be doing.  Then word got back to my boss and I had to own up to my mistake.

However, I used this opportunity to really learn how my team would come to follow my examples over what I may have been saying.  I was then able to use that knowledge to set a better example for my team, which led to a very prosperous time for our store.”

I made my mistake, but rather than let it get me down I was able to learn and grow from it.  What mistakes or failures have you had in your life that you were able to learn from?  How have these lessons helped you become the better person that you are today?  Please share with us in the comment section below!

Think you need more help?  Perhaps a Life Coach can help.

James W D

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14 Replies to “The Importance of Learning from Mistakes”

  1. Hey James,

    It’s amazing how many people need to read this!
    I know quite a few folks that are so failure adverse that they literally stop evolving and getting better and ultimately missing a chance at success and happiness. Mistakes, for them, is just something to be avoided at all costs. Jeeez, little do they know, they are missing out on so much! I know that these people have emotional issues they need to solve before they can embrace change though.

    • Failure does hold a great many of us back when it should actually be propelling us forward. This is another reason why those of us that understand we need to make these mistakes to learn and grow, need to step up and be positive examples for those who have not mastered it yet. The more of us that step our game up and do this the better chances we have of influencing those around us that need it.

  2. hi James
    oh boy, where to start with my own mistakes! I have made plenty for sure. But I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason. You might not be able to see it in the midst of the moment. But later on it becomes clear. Every person is put in your path for a reason. They all have a lesson to teach you. Even the frustrating ones. Especially the frustrating ones!

    • Hello Emily! Well we all have made mistakes that is for sure. As you said though everything does happen for a reason and each mistake happens so that you have an opportunity to learn from it. The more frustrating it is the better chances you do have to learn from it.

  3. Wow, I really related to this post. You mentioned some people keep making the same mistakes over and over again. That was me!
    I am an addict and it is very common for us to continue to try the same thing over and over again, yet expect different results. Certainly a sign of insanity if ever there was one!
    A mistake is also a great opportunity to learn and grow, as long as we take note of what went wrong in the first place.
    Thank you for sharing this information.

    • Lynne, Always nice to hear that my content was relatable to. I am glad to see that you are improving your life by taking note what went wrong and learning from it. That is a huge step in making a positive difference for your life.

  4. I love this kind of article.
    Society, our family, our environment, our friends and the media created a world of illusion where failure means defeat. Remember that poor minded people are afraid of failures so they never takes risk, successful people feel the fear and do it anyway.

    Always ask to yourself, what would it be the worse thing that can happens to me if i fail?
    If you find out that you can survive to it, just do it, you will learn so much from it!!

    • Thank you Andrea! Just doing my part to help undo this world of illusion that the media and such is trying to create for us. Failure by no means is defeat unless you let it be! The only way to have courage is to first feel the fear inside of you as only then can you have the courage to overcome it.

  5. Hi James,
    I perfectly agree with your statement that in order to have success you need to learn from your mistakes. In my 32 years of being employed I have learnt and experienced a lot and I can admit that one of the biggest mistake I and other staff do make is not knowing that hard work always pays back. People do think once you are educated you can just get easy money without working hard. That is the biggest mistake we do make and we end up losing our jobs.

    • I see that happen more often than I would hope too! Hard work always pays it’s dividends and slacking off gets caught sooner or later. Whether you get caught being lazy or someone passes you over by working harder, either way it will catch you in the end.

  6. This article is so amazing – if only there were more people who think like you do. It is such a shame that people experience rejection and disappointment in life and then this gives them self limiting beliefs, which stops them from living to their full potential.

    Just out of interest… do you believe in the law of attraction?

    • First off thank you for your kind words! Secondly, I don’t consider it a shame unless you are failing to learn from the experiences. It is a shame to have to repeat lessons over and over to learn from them.

      As for the Law of Attraction, yes I do. I will be working up a post on this soon as it has played an important role in my life as well.

  7. Very interesting and helpful article. You’ve spoken about a very important topic here. If you go through life just seeing the negative side of things and failing to learn from you mistakes you never get anywhere. I think it gets to the point where you’ve trained your brain to seek out negativity!

    Thanks for this article – I need reminding sometimes to stay positive!

    • Hanna, you make a great point about Training your Brain. Many of us will seek out negativity and then complain about it when they find it. It is a cycle that can be hard to break, just like any habit. However with conscious effort you can break that cycle and create a much more positive life!

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