- an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.
- be wrong about.
I’ve made quite a few mistakes. I’ve said the wrong thing, done the wrong thing, sent the wrong email, performed the analysis wrong, read the directions wrong, and presented the wrong material. You get the idea. Not all mistakes are created equal. And I think for many of us “wrong” equates with “bad.” We attach a judgment of ourselves to that mistake.
“How could you do that?”
“What were you thinking?”
“How did you screw that up AGAIN?”
In his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel-Ruiz reminds us that we, as humans, are the only creatures who PUNISH ourselves for mistakes. And the worst part is that we do it over and over:
“How many times do we pay for one mistake? The answer is thousands of times. The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake. The rest of the animals pay once for every mistake they make. But not us. We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. If justice exists, then that was enough; we don’t need to do it again. But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again, and we punish ourselves again, and again, and again. If we have a wife or husband, he or she also reminds us of the mistake, so we can judge ourselves again, punish ourselves again, and find ourselves guilty again. Is this fair?”
You know what? I want to stop punishing myself, but I want to make MORE mistakes. Here’s why:
I’m reading “Take Your Shot: How Small Business Owners Can Consistently Lead at a Higher Level” by my friend and colleague, Dr. Dave Strigel. In Chapter 3 he talks about the vital work of Carol Dweck on Mindset. Now, mindset is something that a lot of us are familiar with now, but when Dweck published her book in 2006 – no one was talking about it. Someone with a growth mindset believes we are constantly learning and evolving, so mistakes are critical to growth.
My assistant called me this afternoon and said, “I made a big mistake.” I was grateful I had just read both of these texts. “I’m glad you told me. That’s how we learn. Now, let’s get to work on fixing it.”
Are you punishing yourself for your mistakes over and over?
Are you reminding your partner of their mistakes again and again?
Can your kids come to you with the mistakes they have made?
Does your team share their mistakes more often than not?
Are you encouraging them to make more?
Here’s to making more mistakes — growing more and punishing less.