We all make mistakes – they are temporary bumps on the road of life.  A mistake is an unintentional action whose consequences are undesirable. But do we all learn from our mistakes or does pride and ego sometimes get in the way of learning and awareness.  Perhaps we would rather ‘blame’, instead of reflecting.

Mistakes are relative – a small printing error, maths calculation can be easily rectified.  A mistake in surgery or medicine however, could have dire consequences, as we have recently read about at North Shore Hospital.

Or take some other medical mishaps overseas which resulted in the wrong leg being removed, the wrong side of the brain being operated on, the wrong heart and lungs with the wrong blood type being transplanted into a patient.  These all have dire consequences, however most of our day to day mistakes, are not that life threatening.

A mistake is a mistake AFTER the event.  To learn effectively from a mistake, you need to have a growth mindset – a positive mindset rather than a blame mentality.

The blame mentality unfortunately is very common.  My husband will always blame his tools, his car, the computer or someone else. My response, in a very humorous way is to quietly whisper in his ear “operator error”.

There is one ‘mistake’ that my son won’t repeat.  He was sitting quietly watching the TV, ice-block in his hand, enjoying the TV and the ice-block simultaneously.  Our small dog was watching my son intently, hoping for a portion of the ice-block to fall off, or … if she waited long enough, for my son to look into those big brown eyes and decide to part with the last morsel of ice-block, because those big brown eyes just ‘got to him’.

So he decided on the latter.  He gave the last morsel of ice-block, still on the stick, to the dog.  The dog licked the stick clean, wagged its tail and trotted off to find someone else to prey on.

My son was fixated on the TV – it must have been Animal Planet – his favourite.  A few moments passed, and without any thought, he put the ‘licked clean’ ice-block stick in his mouth, forgetting that our little canine friend had just finished slobbering all over it.

There was a shriek and a yell when the penny dropped, followed by lots of laughter and lots of learning.  He says he will never do that again….. but how sure can he be?

But more  often we resort to blame instead of learning.  Imagine what we could all achieve, if we really learned from our mistakes and changed our behaviour – at work and at home.

Think of a time when you said or did something that you regretted. That could be called an error of judgement or a ‘mistake’ because you didn’t intend to offend or hurt someone.  But what have you learned – that saying ‘sorry’ makes up for it all?  Well it doesn’t.  Saying sorry helps, but saying sorry is the plaster on the wound.  The scar remains forever.

Remember there are 5 things that you cannot recover in life:

  1. The stone after it’s thrown
  2. The word, after it’s said
  3. The occasion, after it’s missed
  4. The time, after it’s gone
  5. The person, after they’ve died

We make mistakes, but every mistake is the portal for discovery, the portal for improvement, the portal for learning.

Open your portal today!