One of the basic rules of existence is that things always change. Nothing ever remains static. People are not different. Relationships, life circumstances, jobs, ….all these things change. Knowing that, it is a mystery why so many people get bent out of shape when things change. You know it is going to happen, someday, so why should you let it bother you. Adapt and overcome – should be a pretty good credo to live by, especially in modern times.
One reason people fear change is most likely a fear of making mistakes. People hold on to past mistakes like a precious jewel. Sometimes, instead of focusing on what is going right at the time, we tend to dwell on what went wrong in the past. A little of that is normal, but when it gets to the point that worrying about past mistakes keeps you from realizing your full potential, it’s time to do something. And the good news is that in most cases, there are many things you can do to get past this.
1. Mistakes are lessons.
The first step to dealing with a fear of making mistakes is to realize that mistakes are actually lessons. Without making mistakes, we would never learn anything. Mistakes are a normal part of life. Instead of fretting over mistakes, teach yourself to start regarding them as new opportunities.
2. Mistakes are a part of growth.
There is no question that mistakes can be aggravating, frustrating and time-consuming, but without them, we can never grow. You need to realize this. Mistakes are only a real problem if you keep making the same ones. Instead of getting flustered next time something doesn’t go 100% right, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” When you start doing this, you’ll be surprised at how fast you’ll start to grow.
3. Stop regretting the mistakes
Hundreds of millions of people suffer from some level of depression every day. A lot of them are suffering because of dwelling on past mistakes, and/or a fear of failure. Regrets are like your appendix, everyone has one, and it means nothing. The only thing it really does is cause problems. You need to realize that mistakes are a part of life, and they do not define who and what you are. You can’t change where you’ve been. You can only move towards a better place. As a person, you are much more than the sum of your past mistakes, your current situation, or your problems. Don’t let regrets define you.
4. Mistakes mean you are trying
It’s been said that the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. In the same vein, the biggest mistake you can make is to be afraid to make a mistake. I was frequently told as a youth, “Do something, even if you do it wrong.” It is much better to make a mistake than not do anything at all. Show me someone who never makes mistakes, and I will show you someone who has never done anything on their own (or, more likely, they are really good at covering it up…). Mistakes prove that you trying to do something.
5. Mistakes are opportunities
If you research great discoveries, you will find that a large part of them started out as mistakes. Silly Putty, the Slinky, penicillin, potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, the Cardiac Pace-Maker, microwave ovens, X-ray photography, ink-jet printers, Post-It Notes….all these started out as mistakes. The difference in these, and other mistakes, is that the person stepped back and said, “Eureka! I’ve just found 100 ways that won’t work”. When life threw lemons at them, they made lemonade. When things came up sour apples, they made applesauce and apple pies. If you regard your mistakes as failures, you will fail to progress towards your potential. Instead, start to look at your mistakes as new opportunities for growth. As I have have shown, mistakes lead to breakthroughs, if you let them.
Don’t let your fear of making mistakes, or regrets over past ones, keep you from accomplishing what you want in life. Remember, it’s not over until you say it’s over. No one ever gives up an a problem or issue…..they just give up on themselves.
Now, go out and make a few mistakes….and be happy.