Everybody makes mistakes—that’s a given—but not everyone learns from them. Some people make the same mistakes over and over again, fail to make any real progress, and can’t figure out why.
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee
When we make mistakes, it can be hard to admit them because doing so feels like an attack on our self-worth. This tendency poses a huge problem because new research proves something that commonsense has told us for a very long time—fully acknowledging and embracing errors is the only way to avoid repeating them.
Yet, many of us still struggle with this.
Researchers from the Clinical Psychophysiology Lab at Michigan State University found that people fall into one of two camps when it comes to mistakes: those who have a fixed mind-set (“Forget this; I’ll never be good at it”) and those who have a growth mind-set (“What a wake-up call! Let’s see what I did wrong so I won’t do it again”).
“By paying attention to mistakes, we invest more time and effort to correct them,” says study author Jason Moser. “The result is that you make the mistake work for you.”
Those with a growth mind-set land on their feet because they acknowledge their mistakes and use them to get better. Those with a fixed mind-set are bound to repeat their mistakes because they try their best to ignore them.
Smart, successful people are by no means immune to making mistakes; they simply have the tools in place to learn from their errors. In other words, they recognize the roots of their mix-ups quickly and never make the same mistake twice.
“When you repeat a mistake it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision.” – Paulo Coelho
Some mistakes are so tempting that we all make them at one point or another. Smart people learn from these mistakes and never make them twice.