Bert Oliva

Better By Mistake

By Bert Oliva


“Mistake” is a bad word in a lot of people’s minds. A lot of people seem to think they are meant to do everything perfectly all of the time and get very angry with themselves and others when they make mistakes. When I was younger, I had no patience for anyone’s mistakes, even my own.

However, mistakes happen. We all make them. No matter how perfect we each think we are or how perfectly we believe we are doing things, there are times when we will make mistakes. It’s just part of life. In fact, the word “mistake” by its very definition means an unintentional error.

The real question is whether we learn from our mistakes. Do you find yourself making the same mistake over and over again? If so, that is because you have yet to learn the lesson from that mistake. Whenever I make a mistake now, I take time to analyze it. To figure out exactly what happened and what the lesson I needed to learn from it was. More often than not, the lesson I have learned is usually a very good one and/or causes me to change directions in something I am working on that leads to a much better, yet unexpected result.

My personal rule is that I only get upset with my mistakes if I repeat them. That simply means I have not taken the time to figure out exactly where I went wrong to begin with. We all make mistakes, it’s whether we learn from our mistakes or not that determines our own

1) The next time you make a mistake, stop for a moment. If you are the type of person who beats yourself up over your mistakes, pause. Breathe and remind yourself that mistakes happen. If you are the type of person who does not give one thought to your own mistakes and who keeps moving at a million miles per second, pause as well. Breathe and fully take in the mistake you have made just for a moment.

2) Regardless of your personality, take a minute and write down the mistake you just made, preferably in your journal. If you have the time at the very moment, write down the circumstances and what you may have done in error to cause that mistake. If you do not have the time, go back to this page in your journal that same evening and write about the mistake. Analyze what you could have done better, where your mistake was and what you are meant to learn from it. Did the mistake cause you to realize something you would not have otherwise? Did it show you something you had been overlooking? Every mistake has a message. Find it.

3) Now that you know the lesson from your mistake, let yourself off the hook. Realize that blame is not a helpful emotion. Instead, work on your awareness so that you do not repeat your same mistake.

Live Life,
Bert Oliva

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