Dare to live without limits

Bryan Golden

Don’t try to hide your mistakes

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we are embarrassed or ashamed of our mistakes. But all mistakes provide a powerful learning opportunity. Attempting to hide your mistakes negates any positive impact, while creating secondary problems.
Hidden mistakes don’t get fixed and keep recurring. You don’t learn anything from hidden mistakes. Instead, your energy is spent covering up what has happened. Therefore, the chances are high that you will make the same mistakes again.
Hidden mistakes turn into bigger problems. Since the underlying cause of your mistakes has not been corrected, the problems which have occurred are likely to worsen and cause other problems. You are now in a situation where you are creating more mistakes.
Hiding problems is dishonest to yourself along with anyone who is impacted. Additionally, hiding problems requires lying, excuses, and denial. The results include loss of respect, a tarnished reputation, constant fear of being caught, stress, and anxiety.
Since hiding your mistakes only makes a situation worse, you must take responsibility for your mistakes. As soon as you do this, you are on the path to correcting your mistakes. Be honest with yourself and others. Own up to what happened and why. Apologize to anyone who has been adversely affected by your actions.
Don’t get defensive, make excuses, or blame others. You are the one who ultimately made the decision which caused the mistake. You are the one who needs to take corrective action to fix the mistake.
Determining exactly what went wrong and why is essential before you can make a better decision. Repeating the same mistakes constantly shows that you have not learned anything. Making a mistake is not a sign of stupidity, not learning from each mistake is.
You learn more from mistakes than when all goes smoothly. Mistakes identify areas which require improvement. Mistakes are essential for achieving high levels of success. Successful people have cultivated the ability to quickly identify mistakes, learn from them, and then move forward with greater knowledge.
Don’t become fearful because you made a mistake. By hiding a mistake you allow fear to control your actions. This means you attempt avoiding the mistake again through inaction instead of intelligently moving forward empowered with additional knowledge.
Carl is an example which illustrates this concept. As a college freshman, Carl constantly received poor grades in his classes due to poor study habits. Carl didn’t admit that he was doing anything wrong. He blamed the professors for unfair grading. Carl was developing a fear that he couldn’t get good grades in demanding classes.
Instead of taking responsibility for his grades, and determining the real cause for his poor academic performance, Carl sought out and enrolled in easier classes. Although his grades did improve slightly, Carl fell behind in taking the courses required for his major. In addition to not fixing his underlying problem, Carl now has a secondary problem of not graduating on schedule.
Here’s how you avoid hiding your mistakes. Start with maintaining an awareness of what is happening in your life. Identify mistakes as soon as they occur. Take responsibility for what’s happened. Accurately assess what caused the mistake.
Identify what you have learned. Determine what steps are required to correct your mistake. Adjust your behavior so that the same mistake does not recur. Don’t dwell on past mistakes. Take positive action to move forward, one step at a time. Your problem solving skills improve with each mistake you correct. Each mistake offers a springboard to future success.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2018 Bryan Golden


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