Milestones

Last week’s theme was primarily centered upon the topics of giving up easily and being discouraged by slow results. Today, I’m also going to continue along the same path and talk to you about the mistakes we make and why we should treat them positively.

We’ve all heard the phrase “we learn from our mistakes” many times in our lives. I heard it first when I started learning how to ride a bicycle. I’m sure many people treat it as a mere cliché, but many of us also fail to fully incorporate the philosophy into our lives. We acknowledge it at a certain level, but we still tend to get discouraged by our failures and don’t try to get out of them. The negative emotions caused by our mistakes (especially big ones) too often overcome the rationality of getting something positive out of a failure, so it becomes almost impossible to imagine gaining any merits from a failure. But the reason why the negative emotions triumph is that we haven’t adopted this mindset before the blunders blow in.

Develop a positive mindset first

If we don’t have a positive mindset at the time of failure, it will easily influence us in a harmful way. So before we can start to think positively about failure, we have to work on conditioning our mind to accept them, and understand that the world is not going to come to an end even if our attempts only produce faults in the beginning. Beginners make mistakes but so do experts.

The good thing about most failures is that there’s nearly always a chance to try again. And we will be much wiser on the second try. Isn’t that great? We might come to the same overall conclusion again, but we’re always learning something new. The failures teach us and lead us to a different direction. And the more we fail, the better will our sense of direction be on the following attempts. If you fail to pass your blue belt exam in Jiu-Jitsu, the world is not going to end. You’re not going to die because of one single mistake. You’ll most likely have a second chance, and you will definitely do better in the future unless you give up. The changes may not be always visible to you, so you might have to wait longer to see the proof of your progress, but believe, and know, that your mistakes have taught you a lot and improved you as a person.

Accept every failure

Take a positive approach on failure and you’ll be able to overcome most objects on your path. Always remember that as long as a mistake doesn’t kill you, you will be able to do something about the mistake and work toward better results in the future. Now, most of the failures that we have to deal with aren’t deadly at all. They can cause a lot of anxiety and discomfort, but they are often just negative thoughts inside the head. Worry can certainly be a deadly ailment in the long run, and you shouldn’t take it lightly by any means, but any single mistake that we do is often fixable. And if you learn to take your failures positively, you won’t be bothered by worry.

Take a look at the following list of example failures. How many of them, do you believe, are unfixable? Should they be treated as good enough reasons to quit what you’re trying so hard to accomplish?

  • Failure to pass an entrance exam
  • Failure to work for your dream company
  • Failure to make money from your online business
  • Failure to get a girlfriend/boyfriend
  • Failure to use a language you learned in junior high school
  • Failure to lose weight
  • Failure to finish a marathon

The reality is that a lot of us quit when we fail at first. But anyone should be able to work out logically that the aforementioned failures are just temporary. Sure, there may be a one-time only chance to apply for a pilot’s job at All Nippon Airways, but hey, not all of us end up as presidents either. There are certain limitations, but generally speaking, none of those failures are cases that can’t be improved on in the future.

It is a good habit to take every failure in a positive way. First think of the worst thing that can happen to you. Then realize that you are not in that worst situation, and that you can make things better by striving to learn from your mistakes and advancing toward your goals. Failures shouldn’t be seen as deep pits that you can’t climb out of. They should be treated as milestones or checkpoints that eventually lead to the finish line.