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Chapter 29

Mistakes: Friend Or Foe?

Today's Empowering Quote

"Life is very interesting, if you make mistakes."
-Georges Carpentier

Today's Empowering Question

"If I make a mistake during this task, what's the worst that could happen?  What's the best?"

Today's Fast Session

This is a sticky subject...

Fear of making a mistake is often the last thing you feel just before you start to do something really cool; and it stops most people dead in their tracks.

As usual, I'm not putting myself above this.  I'll point out that for what is still more than half my life, I was dominated by fear.  Fear of mistakes.  Fear of looking like a fool.  Fear of failure and success.

One of the most ludicrous situations I can recall where I was afraid of appearing stupid was in Junior High School.   I was told by no less than a half dozen friends that a certain girl, who I did like very much, wanted me to ask her to the upcoming Saturday night dance.   It was very obvious that she liked me.

I planned to ask her as soon as I could muster up the courage.

Well, I waited and waited...

Pretty soon, it's Friday afternoon.  The last class of the day let out and everyone was making a mad dash for the buses to go home for the weekend.  And she just "happened by" my locker.

Here was my chance...

A few seconds of small talk and I finally start, "Would you like to, um..."

And that was all I could get out.  She waited for what seemed like a minute without me saying another word.

Thankfully, she helped me out, "...go to the dance?"

What a relief!  I said, "Yes!"

"I'd love to," she said.

Happily, my fear of women subsided somewhat over the years, but it was just one more pattern that kept me from enjoying a normal part of life that we can all experience if we just stop being so "self" conscious.

Part of my growth was due to my new passion for reading self help books in my early twenties.  Failure and poverty was starting to get old.  I then started to learn what makes us humans tick.  Common themes ran through many of these works.

One recurring and potent suggestion I recall as sticking out was simply doing what you fear. 

How could this help?

Well, as simple as it sounds, if you do what you fear enough times, you'll find that there is nothing to fear.  You'll become comfortable doing it.  The thing you feared will soon become routine.

End of story.

I found out that girls didn't hold any special power over me.  I learned that making mistakes actually gave me more opportunities to learn and gain proficiency... and that most mistakes weren't going to kill me.

But a HUGE lesson in life (and make a note of this because it's profound) I learned was that I could learn more from other people's mistakes than I even had time to make myself...

... if I paid attention.

I know.  "Duh!"

But in the last 14 years, I have been able to succeed in business to a degree I never even dreamed of because my competitors (and most everyone else) don't do this.

If you keep your eyes open, each day can teach you dozens and even hundreds of important lessons that you CAN use.

Think about it.  Do you need to get hit before you learn not to step in front of a moving vehicle?

Every second of every day provides you with lessons...

...If you have your eyes and ears open to them.

Watch and listen to other people.  Pay attention to what causes the failure and success of others in even the most tiny of situations.

This little used but powerful habit can erase most of your fears, give you a feeling of power and put you in control of your emotions in just about any situation.

Watch.  Listen.  Learn.

Every minute.

Live life.  Have fun.  But take your blinders off.  There's a lot going on around you every minute that can teach you about how to eliminate fear of making mistakes.

Mistakes are a part of life.  Don't just accept that truth.  Embrace it, and your life will be a whole lot happier and filled with accomplishment.

Remember, the people who are laughing at you as you're falling down are pointing at you to keep people from looking at them!

Today's Winning Beliefs

-- Learning from mistakes and I are one
-- Mistakes are necessary to living a happy, successful life
-- I learn everything I can from each mistake
-- I see mistakes as part of what I need to learn fast

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