No one is above mistakes, but how we identify and respond to them makes the difference. Making a mistake once is human, but making the same mistake the second time shows the need for improvement. Being able to manage your mistakes begins with quick identification. To grow, you must be able to identify mistakes and learn from them. Here are the main types of mistakes you should watch out for.
This category of mistake is easy to identify and one you make while learning something. A good example is learning how to drive a car. You’ll definitely make some mistakes before you get the hang of it.
Just to throw in a little humor, a beginning driver started his lesson in a park with a car that had manual transmission. After driving for a few meters, the instructor told him to change the gear from 1 to 2 – the driver just turned the car around, and the instructor asked why. The driver said, “I want to go back to the starting spot to change the gear!” Although the driver is now an expert who drives trucks, he never forgot the silly beginner’s mistakes he made while learning how to drive.
These are mistakes made out of negligence and not ignorance. They can be typical productivity mistakes, such as typos, omissions, and spelling errors. They are real mistakes, but they could have been avoided if extra time was taken to proofread before sending it out. To underscore the importance of proofreading, consider the following scenario.
ABC Shoes is a company that sells all kinds of shoes in bulk. The company has several distributors. According to its policy, ABC Shoes gives stock to its distributors on credit, and the distributors remit the money when the stock sells out.
A distributor – Brown Co. – requests stock from your office but has yet to remit the money for the first consignment. You’re the manager of the inventory team. Your CEO, on his way to the office, calls and tells you not to supply any stock to Brown Co. before he arrives. You quickly send an email to your team to this effect.
Here’s the intended email: “You guys should NOT supply Brown Co. with stock before the CEO arrives.” Here’s what you actually sent: “You guys should supply Brown Co. with stock before the CEO arrives.”
Can you discern the difference? You omitted the word “NOT” and sent the exact opposite of the message you intended to. These types of mistakes always have consequences.
These mistakes are made out of ignorance. Although they are similar to beginner mistakes, they are different from them. Beginner mistakes occur when you’re learning something new, like how to use an app. Ignorant mistakes are the ones you make out of ignorance. One example of an ignorant mistake is targeting grandparents through Instagram. How many of them use it?
Another example of ignorant mistakes is giving a tip to a Chinese man after a wonderful service in China. The Chinese don’t accept tips. They believe that tips are given to people who are suffering. But in many other countries – like the UK, US, and Canada – giving tips is a way of showing gratitude/appreciation after a great service.
This kind of mistake occurs when you push yourself over your limit. Of course, it’s a great idea to keep pushing yourself to do more; however, don’t overdo it, as it often backfires and turns into a Pyrrhic victory for you in the long run. When you overstretch yourself, you’ll be pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and into a danger zone.
A good example is an athlete who overstretches himself to win a race but slumps and passes out a few minutes after. His body could not match the speed and length of the race. Sometimes when a boxer gets knocked down and doesn’t get up before the usual count of ten, it’s not because he can’t hear the count but rather his body isn’t resilient enough. He could get up and win applause but still lose the match or his life.
Mistakes are inevitable. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not trying new things. But always – you need to identify mistakes and most importantly, learn from them. The fear of mistakes, new experiences and changes has prevented many from achieving their goals. Embrace those mistakes but learn from them.
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