We all make mistakes. It is part of being human and so the most important thing is not in completely avoiding those mistakes but in learning from them, then getting up and moving on to a better place. But, how to you assess those errors, understand what went wrong and become a better person?
The first thing that is required is recognizing what the mistake was. Often we make the mistake of assuming that the most recent action taken before something negative happens is the cause of the problem. Far more often there is a series of events that lead up to the final mistake so think back. When did you first start down the path that led to the ultimate mistake? If you can locate the first mistake you’ll be far more able to avoid it in the future.
Once you have discovered the series of choices that led to the mistake, you should begin to examine your motives. You have control over your own actions so understanding why you made the choices you did and taking responsibility for those motives is vital. This is doubly important when dealing with seeming outbursts. Find out why it is you act that way and try to remember that people won’t do things if they don’t work so you are getting something out of that action, even if the negatives are higher.
Keep a written record. Human memory is faulty, and often when you think back you are not remembering how things actually happened. This makes it far more difficult to understand your own actions and the actions of others. Keeping a journal will help you pinpoint mistakes better. This will also give you an outlet for emotions and a way to consider ideas before you make another mistake.
Ask for help. Sometimes we are unable to truly change on our own. One of the best ways to learn from your mistake is to be accountable to someone else. Ideally this is someone who is not directly involved in the situation but is close enough to step in when you are about to do something truly stupid. An accountability group that gets together once a week is perfect for this, and in addition if you commit to telling them about your mistakes each week that is an added incentive not to do anything overly stupid.
When asked about his failure to make a light bulb Thomas Edison was quoted as saying ” I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” And this is true of the mistakes in our lives as well. So long as we have learned something, even if it is what not to do then we have achieved something. So do not allow failure to weigh you down but stand up, dust yourself off and try not to make the same mistake twice.