All of us, at some point, are bound to make mistakes or experience frustrations at some point within our lives… although some of us are making mistakes and facing frustration on a pretty regular basis! Am I right!?
The two are part of life, but if we don’t learn how to navigate mistakes and frustration properly we run the risk of those mistakes and frustrations defining us and overtaking us. So how do we navigate mistakes and frustrations in a way that helps us rather than harms us?
A major reason why making mistakes proves to be so frustrating for many people is because of the way making mistakes is typically framed. Society seems to push the narrative that making mistakes is bad and proof of intellectual inferiority. However, that’s not at all the case. Mistakes are in fact a great foundation to build upon, and if we reframe the way we think about making mistakes as a positive, we’ll be able to better manage and cope with it when it happens.
Emotions are powerful, and it is a completely normal emotional response to react to mistakes or challenges with frustration, avoidance, and even fear. However, properly acknowledging and channeling these emotional responses is essential if we are to grow from the experience. Negative emotions that arise due to mistakes and frustration should be acknowledged, not avoided. Once the emotions have been acknowledged and released, there is clarity of mind needed to channel those emotions for the good.
So, instead of responding with panic and frustration, we absolutely need to actually learn from the experience of making a mistake or failing and then improve upon our skill set based on what we learned. This learning is applied to future situations and helps us evolve and increase our intelligence.
Flexibility & Creativity
Continually operating from a place of flexibility and creativity will prepare us to be able to manage mistakes and frustration well. Those of us who are flexible tend to respond to sudden changes and risks with an optimistic attitude and the ability to adapt to new situations. Those of us who operate in a continual state of creativity tend to approach unfamiliar or challenging situations with determination and excitement to learn from the experience.
It may seem counterintuitive to say that you should plan ahead after what I just explained about being flexible, but it makes sense. Plan to make mistakes. When we enter into a process or situation knowing ahead of time that we may make an error, we won’t overreact when we actually do. Having planned for such a thing to happen, we’re now emotionally prepared to cope with what has happened and move forward (Kane, 2018). And in the rare instance we are able to execute a plan without any errors, we’ll have the satisfaction of knowing we did much better than we intended to perform.
Mistakes are not a cause for dismay. Instead mistakes should be valued and celebrated for the knowledge they provide. When we are able to understand that mistakes don’t define us, we can embrace the chances they offer us to develop more skills and more knowledge. In doing so we can continue to mature and learn as we grow.