Gary's Guidance: Making Mistakes and Then What?

September 2012

Gary’s Guidance

Making Mistakes and Then What? 

 You have heard Alexander Pope’s famous quote:  “to err is human.”  Or what was it:  “to be human is to err?”  Hmmm…one is right and the other one is wrong.  We all make mistakes, but some say there are different levels of mistakes such as making a big mistake with severe consequences.  When a mistake is made there is an opportunity to learn something from it.  Here are some things to consider with mistakes.

1.  Usually one person is responsible for making a mistake, but more than one person can be held accountable for a mistake.

2.  Finding fault or blame usually comes with mistakes.

3. A cause and effect dynamic is involved with mistakes.

4. Mistakes involve an interaction between thinking and behavior.

5. Mistakes trigger emotional responses such as regret, remorse, sadness, fear, and anger.

6. Mistakes may have a humorous quality.

7. Mistakes can be simple or mistakes can be complex.

8. Mistakes are not forgotten (cognitive) and mistakes are sometimes not forgiven (emotional).

9. Mistakes are ignored.

10. The same mistake can happen more than once (like spilling a cup of tea).

11. Mistakes are usually judged by an individual making the mistake and judged by others.

12. Self-criticalness can be linked to a mistake just as defensiveness can too.

Turn a mistake into an educational experience.  Avoid emotionally beating yourself up by engaging in positive self-talk.  Think of the mistake as failing forward for personal growth.

Gary Kozick, LCSW

(215) 510-8901