Mistakes Were Made…

Mistakes were made… but why should we get negative talking about them?

Everyone, everywhere has difficulty dealing with mistakes. It is an entrenched psychology that we are each subject to from our earliest lessons and memories. We are taught, and it is engrained in each of us, that mistakes are bad. We associate being told off and negative consequences with making mistakes. Mistakes mean red crosses, lost marks and missed opportunities. They evoke visions of defeat, memories of what could have been and the pain of embarrassment.

We have to break this entrenched psychology.

Mistakes are not negative; mistakes allow us to learn.

The first step is acceptance. Accepting ourselves that changing our way of thinking is not easy; we will have to battle against our instinctive reaction to ignore, to bury, to move on. We may even have to catch ourselves blaming something or someone else. We all want to be the best that we can be. The best accept that they are never always right and do something about it. A good way to think about it is that there is no such thing as good and bad; there is only the right way and an opportunity to try something different or learn a lesson.

What is interesting about acceptance (and the only rule to really remember) is that there is never (ever) an unintended consequence that you could not have done something about. There is always something to be learnt, something to be tried differently next time.

Hindsight may be reason not to have foreseen something. It is far from a reason to do nothing. Hindsight is a gift, not an excuse. It is our second step; the ability to learn so that a mistake (or similar occurrence) is not repeated.

No one is expecting you not to make mistakes.

The expectation is that you do not make a similar mistake again.

There is no shame in making mistakes. There is no embarrassment either. People may make you feel embarrassed or ashamed but these people should not be allowed to dictate how you feel. Mistakes are a badge of honour because recognising them means that you are prepared to do something positive about them.

Forgetting an appointment, arriving to work late or selecting the wrong option are not travesties that need to be dealt with silent reverence. Shout about it! This firstly allows you to apologise to the other people that it affects but more importantly, it allows you to accept. This is not, and should never (ever!) be seen or made to be seen as a punishment.

The first step is acceptance.

The second step is doing something about it.

If a similar mistake occurs, what then? Should we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that nothing can be done? Should we yield, give up and accept it as an inevitability?


LOL, no, of course not. This simply means that the thing you did differently when the mistake first happened did not go far enough. Take more extreme action. Go large. This is not about ‘trying harder’ or ‘doing better’, this is about going bigger and thinking differently (or thinking for longer). For example, if audio is mis-recorded on one shoot, lessons will be learnt and applied for the next. If audio is mis-recorded on the next shoot, this should be seen an opportunity for greater change (perhaps we would need external help, guidance or input in the form of training).

There is always something that you can do. Not knowing is not an excuse. It is, ironically, a lesson in itself; it means you need to learn. If you can’t do something, learn it; don’t blame the fact that you don’t know or no one has told you.

When faced with a mistake, always act positively.

Don’t be an ostrich, burying your head; be a duck, kicking hard and gliding forward.

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