Mistakes: The greatest education of all

How we react to mistakes determines how we succeed.

Number one: We all make mistakes. In fact, there was only one perfect human — and He ain’t us. What makes us special is how we deal with the after effects of them.

I used to be pretty crappy at this to be honest. If someone called me out, I’d get defensive — like my very worth was being assaulted. It probably was a self-esteem thing, I really don’t know. All I know is that I felt like crap and I missed the silver lining from it — I never learned anything from screwing up.

I’ve learned a little bit over the years. If a coach, a boss, a spouse, a friend, etc. says, “Hey, you messed up,” don’t go immediately to DefCom 1. Take a breathe and listen to see if you can figure out HOW you screwed up. Once you get the constructive criticism, try to correct it and move on. Your blood pressure doesn’t rise nor do feel like you are being attacked. And who knows, you might actually learn something.

Of course, you also have to take into consideration WHO is telling you screwed up. If it is some random yahoo from the internet busts your chops, take it with a grain of salt. Anyone who has the courage to stick their head out of the foxhole will take a few shots occasionally. And if you have the courage to stick your head out, you’re truly living.

Mistakes are one of the finest universities in the world. That’s why being cautious and trying to avoid them all the time is devastating. Sure, you don’t want to walk along the roofline of your house and slip and fall to your doom for example (some mistakes can be fatal). But most of your risk taking will lead to reward or at least growth.

Training has been good for me on this front. I used to get defensive when a coach would call me out. Now I just try to figure out what I did wrong so I won’t repeat it.

It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it.

About Marshall Ramsey