Avoiding Failing? Why Making Mistakes is Good for You

Are you one of the people who is always double-checking that all things go as planned and that there is no room for any mistakes? You might tend towards perfectionism and an unconscious need to seem flawless with everything you do. Maybe you are scared of failure and willing to avoid it at all costs.

Understandably making mistakes doesn’t feel good and it’s natural to try to avoid them. Failing might feel like you are letting yourself or others down, which of course is not a pleasurable experience. However, making mistakes and failing have purpose even when it wouldn’t feel like that. Acknowledging the good sides of making mistakes can take away from the pressure of trying to be always perfect.

Failing is part of learning 

Making mistakes is inevitable if you want to learn and ultimately succeed at something. Failing helps you to rule out what not to do next time in a similar situation or what to possibly work on. Thus, failing is teaching you new ways and approaches for dealing with the given scenario the next time. This way each mistake you make is simply feedback on how to improve your craft or evolve with a task.

No matter how difficult it may feel, knowing that failure only gives you another chance to try again is important. It’s not possible to learn and not make any mistakes along the way. Even when a baby is learning to walk, he or she will trip a couple of times before learning to stand on his or her own feet. Tripping when learning to walk doesn’t mean that the baby is a failure and will never be good at walking. Learning is a matter of trial and error. 

Imposter syndrome

Failing can help redirect what you are doing

A lot of inspirational success advice emphasizes the importance of failing. Failure can help you in redirecting where you should or shouldn’t be heading. It can show you new directions or ways to act that can provide you with completely new opportunities. Thus, making mistakes may cause your direction to change, and that new prospect or possibility may turn out to be the finest thing that could possibly happen to you.

Maybe what you envisioned will not happen exactly how you thought it would, but that is what makes the distance between where you are and where you want to go so exciting. At times it’s the failing along the way that will guide you to where you want to be.

Failure is not fatal

Making mistakes is only human and we all mess up at times. Thus, failing is part of the human experience. We are all capable of making mistakes no matter how educated, experienced or well-informed we would be. What can make failing more bearable is knowing that the pain of failure is only momentarily and it’s always possible to get back up again.

Sometimes defining our failures in a way that doesn’t freeze us can help. So, remember that most of the time mistakes we make are just choices of action we thought was the best solution at the time. Acknowledging this can help us feel more compassion for our mistakes.

Failing isn’t connected to your worth 

We can easily mix up our worth being connected to our actions. However, failing does not define you or your worth as a person. You are worthy as you are, and your actions or behaviours do not alter your worth. Nonetheless, denying your mistakes might create inner frustration or anger. So, accepting that you have made a mistake is a good way of being true to yourself and practising self-compassion even when you would have not been at your best. You are still worthy and accepted, no matter your mistakes. 

What is “failing”?

Hence, we all fail at times, stumble with our words, make mistakes, trip on the stairs etc. Luckily failure is not fatal, but your fear of failure might be holding you back from opportunities, learning or success. Trying your best can already be seen as a great accomplishment instead of the failures that might be involved in the process. Therefore, making mistakes is only proof that you are trying.

Practice seeing failing as a part of life, something that’s not connected to you personally and a learning experience. Maybe something new comes along from your next mistake, who knows?  

“Making mistakes is proof that you are trying.”

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