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Learning from your Mistakes

All of us have made mistakes or experienced failure right? That is because in life, mistakes and failures are inevitable, especially when working towards a big dream, goal or vision. What differs between people is the way they choose to perceive these mistakes. How you decide to perceive your mistakes or failures could be the defining factor concerning success in your life.

Mistakes can either be perceived as barriers or catalysts for success. Many will interpret their continued mistakes as evidence of what they cannot do.  They will take this as proof that they will never be able to overcome their challenges.

Others will perceive their mistakes as learning opportunities. They will pay close attention to their mistakes and use the information as data to make adjustments and corrections. This will increase their chances of succeeding when they try again.

History books are filled with people who did not give up on their dreams and kept failing until they finally achieved success.

Probably the most determined of those dreamers was Thomas Edison. Everyone knows about his success in creating the light bulb but did you know that he made a 1000 mistakes before making the perfect filament?

Imagine what the world would be like if people such as Thomas Edison did not believe in themselves to achieve their dreams. If they stood still after a couple of mistakes or failures. Thankfully, these people were able to overlook the narrow hole failure was dragging them in and instead, they were able to focus on learning from their mistakes. Each mistake teaching them something new, accelerating them and pulling them towards success.

What if you were guaranteed success after 10 tries at something? You would most certainly keep going right?

Would you be okay with making 100 mistakes if it would guarantee your success? Most of us would be willing to pay that price if the promise was real.

Unfortunately, life does not give us such guarantees. We will never know how many times we would have to fail to achieve success. It could take 2 or 3 times, or maybe 1000, who knows?

If you change your mental attitude towards mistakes and failures, and begin to learn from them, rather than giving up, you may be able to use them as catalysts for success. Each mistake providing you with the knowledge to refine your skills and perfect your approach.

Picture above was taken from more-sky.

Understanding and Achieving Success

It is amazing to learn about people who truly follow their dreams and achieve them. The odds were stacked against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and yet he managed to reach the level of power and prestige he is recognised for today.

Your understanding of success is always limited by your knowledge and expectations. The definition of success depends on the person who achieves it and in the context it is achieved.

Success can be winning a small argument or becoming the president of a country. Evidently, success in life has a specific context, meaning and purpose.

Since success has many connotations and subtle nuances, many people find it difficult to define and understand success. Many develop their understanding of success based on previously watched tv series and movies. Others often confuse it with happiness or wealth.

To put it simply, success is achieving your goals. These goals differ from person to person which is why success is unique to you.

Achieving Success:

There are many ways of achieving success including the one that I am about to explain to you. The simplest strategy is to align your success with your natural talents and abilities. Every person is unique in their very own way and you have to find out what makes you unique and incomparable to other people around you. This would involve the following steps.

  1. Familiarize yourself with your strengths and weaknesses. Consider your strengths to be your god given natural resource. Focus on using your strengths and shaping them into success and prosperity. Over time, polishing your strengths (specific skills) can be very helpful as it could increase the impact it would have on your overall value. Specialising (becoming expert) on a specific strength would increase your odds for success.
  2. Align your goals according to your strengths. It is important to build your dreams and aspirations around your strengths and not around aspects of your life that you want to explore. The sentence above may leave you in awe as some people may not enjoy their strengths but as I previously mentioned, this is one of the ways of achieving success and consequently the easiest. My natural talent lies in logical problem solving and not so much in physical sports. The easiest route to success would be to continue with logical thinking and taking that into consideration when choosing future careers, even if I do not enjoy it as much as football or basketball.
  3. Perseverance is an important aspect to consider when talking about success. The world is a little slow in recognising new talent and accepting it. This is where self-esteem, courage and faith play a crucial role. These 3 elements of your life will in turn help you continue no matter what obstacle you face.
  4. Always keep track of your goals and never lose sight of them. Many people get through the first three steps but then get distracted by other people and their ideas. This distraction often leads them astray from their goals and thus prevents them from reaching them. I often “zone out”or “space out”. These phrases mean that you stop noticing the actions and events that take place in your surroundings. This is a positive way of dealing with distractions and can help you focus on your goal better.

Success comes to those who are willing to work for it. There is no “short-cut” to success which is what many people look for and the reason why many people fail.

It is crucial that you always learn from your failures. Failures help you grow and develop. Learning from them ensures that you will not repeat the same mistakes and thus will help you climb the ladder to success one step at a time.

Not many people are able to achieve success because every successful endeavour demands its own price. To achieve success, you must be willing to make necessary sacrifices. A common sacrifice would be how you spend your time. To achieve success in the academic parts of your life for example, you may have to sacrifice playing basketball and instead use your time to read books and watch documentaries.

Picture above is taken from Iris.

Understanding Failure

Failure is not a single calamitous event. It is the accumulation of poor decision making and poor thinking. To put it simply, failure is the consistent errors made in judgement every day.

Now you may be wondering, why would someone make an error in judgement and then repeat his or her mistakes every day? Well, it is because a lot of the times people do not think it matters.

By themselves, our daily errors do not seem that important. A poor decision, minor oversight or a wasted hour generally does not result in a measurable or immediate impact.

If we have not visited the gym for the past 30 days, this lack of self-control does not seem to have any prompt impact on our lives. Since no drastic changes have occurred in our lives after the first 30 days, we repeat this error in reasoning for another 30 days. why? Because it does not seem to matter. This cycle keeps repeating itself until there is a substantial impact on your immediate life.  Far worse than not visiting the gym is not realising that it matters!

Those who eat unhealthy food are contributing to future health problems, but the satisfaction and delight of the moment clouds the consequences of the future. The regret of these judgements has only been delayed for a future time. Consequences of these judgements are rarely instant, instead they accumulate until the day of reckoning arrives and the price must be paid for our poor decisions.

Failure’s most dangerous characteristic is its subtlety. In the short term, these small errors do not seem to matter because they do not have any immediate or measurable impact on our lives. Since nothing is going wrong in our lives, since there is no instant consequence to catch our attention, we keep making the same errors over and over again.

If there were immediate consequences to our judgement error, we would take precautions and make sure we were to never repeat the act again. We would learn from our mistakes and over time achieve success.

To recognise your errors before they accumulate and cease constant repetition, it is imperative to refine your personal philosophy. Personal philosophy consists of the beliefs and attitudes displayed in an individual. If one can alter and improve his or her personal philosophy, he or she will be able to observe and note errors in judgement and rectify them.

The picture above has been taken from Forbes.

Self-confidence is key

Have you ever wondered why you believe every word spoken by an orator? What gives them the qualities that are admired by people around the world? These are some of the questions that I pondered upon when I first watched a TED talk. As you may have already presumed from the title, the answer to these questions is self-confidence.

Self-confidence is the feeling of trust in one’s attributes. Well, that is the simpler definition. To be more precise, self-confidence is the sum of self-efficacy and self-esteem.

Self-efficacy is one’s ability to achieve his or her goals. This is the type of confidence which is closely linked to hard work. It shows people that hard work can lead to success and thus causes them to accept tougher and more rigorous challenges while also being persistent towards setbacks.

Self-esteem is the confidence and respect in one’s abilities. People with high self-esteem believe that they can cope with anything going on in their life and that they deserve happiness. A lot of the times, especially with the younger generations, self-esteem is controlled by the people around you and whether these people accept you or not. However, it also comes from the sense that we are behaving virtuously and that we have to ability to face any challenge if we set our mind to it.

To explain this idea in a more dynamic way, you could think about an entrepreneur pitching his or her ideas to a group of investors. In most cases, people are reluctant to invest in a project that is being pitched by someone who is agitated, fumbling or overly apologetic.

On the other hand, people may be eagerly persuaded by someone who speaks clearly and with a loud voice, who holds his or her head up high, and who answer questions assuredly.

I believe that self-confidence is built by setting and achieving goals regularly. No matter how small these goals are, as long they are challenging your competence. The bad news is that self-confidence cannot be learned or built upon in 5 minutes, it requires patience and persistence. The good news though is that while building your self-confidence, you will also be building your success. After all, your confidence will come from real achievements.

Confident people find success by inspiring confidence in others. An entrepreneur has successfully accomplished his or her pitch if the investors are confident about the project’s success.

Self-confidence is definitely an attribute worth polishing as it is an aspect of your life which could potentially be the deciding factor concerning success. It is incredibly important because it determines how much you achieve in life while also having a major impact on your happiness.

Why would somebody want to be confident though? well, confidence is parallel to success. For example, imagine a person who is not successful in life. This person starts working harder and slowly begins achieving success. This increase in success results in an increase in self-confidence. This principal can also be applied to the same context in a different order. For example, visualise a person who has low self-confidence. This person starts building his or her self-confidence by setting goals and achieving them. These achievements are marks of his success.

tip:

Self-confidence is about control and balance. On one side of the spectrum, we have people who may be over-confident. On the other side, we have people with low self-confidence.

People who are under-confident will avoid taking risks and may never try certain activities such as running for college president. On the other hand, people who are over-confident may take on too much risk, stretch themselves beyond their capabilities and fail poorly.

It is important to be at the centre of this spectrum, meaning that you will take calculated risks while also trying hard without going beyond your capabilities.

Picture above was taken from Rachelmooretherapy.