No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes; however, how hard are you on yourself when you fall down? Sometimes we do stupid things and sometimes stupid things happen to us. That’s life and although it sounds a little cliché, it’s not what happens to us but how we handle the situation. Knowing how to handle your mistakes in a productive manner is imperative in both your professional and personal life.
The first step is to fess up and admit that you made a mistake. Have you ever been around someone who very rarely and perhaps never admits where they went wrong? Being around someone who never admits to the error of their ways implies that they think they are relatively perfect and well, no one is. It can be very frustrating, annoying, and uncomfortable to be around someone who acts like they can walk on water. You don’t want to be that guy/gal. Staying humble these days is harder and harder to do. Especially with the advent of social media, as stated in a previous article; we’ve become the “selfie” generation dangerously testing the narcissism boundary. Anyone on social media today, including me, has been a tad guilty of doing a little humble bragging. Some of us a little less humble then others. What’s a humble brag? It’s saying things like “Darn, my house is too big. I wish I had help cleaning it.” It’s a brag disguised with false humility. It’s acting as if you are complaining about cleaning the house, when really you are bragging and or announcing how big of a house you have. Most of us have been caught doing it.
If you look at some successful people, they are typically willing to grow and part of growing is admitting when you are wrong. This is key in the business world where you have to deal with customer service support, in restaurants if you are serving food, in any and most daily interactions in nearly all professions. In our personal lives, have you ever dated someone who acted like they were God’s gift and nothing they did or said could be questioned because they were never ever wrong? It can be hair-pulling aggravating being around anyone who thinks they are always right. Be the bigger person, try expanding yourself and be willing to grow. A part of the growing process is admitting when you make mistakes. But, rather than lingering in the mistake, find a solution. Are you solutions orientated or mistake orientated? A solution orientated person moves on from the mistake, they learn from it quickly, and they find a solution to resolve the issue so that it doesn’t happen again.
A mistake orientated person stews in the mistake, wallows in it, allows it to drag them down and make them depressed. They go over and over and over what happened beat by beat, line by line. They tell the story again and again like a broken record. Those around them have the story memorized. It’s like that funny moment in Buffalo ’66 when Jan Brown (Angelica Huston) watches an old Buffalo Bill’s 1991 game where Scott Norwood misses the field goal. Huston plays an obsessed Buffalo Bills fan more preoccupied with the Bills than paying attention to her son (Vincent Gallo). She watches the 1991 game over and over, even though she knows how it ends. She goes as far as getting upset each time, blaming her son for being born on that day where she had to miss her beloved football game.
Focusing on the problem rather than the solution is counterproductive and the only result you are left with is self torture. You already know how the game ends, so stop the broken record from playing in your head. It’s time to figure out how to move forward. Take some time to marinate on finding a solution, working on a resolution, and learning from a negative situation. If you look hard enough every problem, negative circumstance, mistake, screw up, “woops” can have a silver lining if you truly wish to see it.