Learn from Your Mistakes

As far as I can tell, no one likes making mistakes. We don’t like admitting that we were wrong and we don’t like feeling self-conscious. Some mistakes are a little bit embarrassing, like accidentally calling a friend’s new wife by his ex-wife’s name and some mistakes are physically painful, like falling down a flight of stairs and spraining your ankle because you were so busy texting you didn’t see where you were going. More serious mistakes can be costly or dangerous, among other things.

Even so, the only way to avoid making mistakes is probably to sit home alone all day and never do anything … then again, that’s probably also a mistake. That’s why I think it’s a much better idea to try to learn from your mistakes instead.

Figure Out How and Why You Made a Mistake

When you make a mistake—no matter how big or how small—take a few minutes to reflect on the situation. Do you know why you did what you did? Is there an obvious reason why something went wrong? Did you unintentionally forget to follow directions?

Life itself is a learning process—we all learn as we get older. Looking back, I did some pretty dumb stuff during my teenage years just because I thought it was a good idea at the time, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who can say that! We can’t turn back the clock, but experience and additional wisdom come with age. Use that to your advantage.

Apologize if You Did Something Wrong

If your mistake caused problems for other people, step up to the plate and say you’re sorry about the situation. Even if someone is ticked off at you, they’ll be glad to know that you’re aware of what you did wrong and most likely they’ll get over it—eventually, anyway!

Get Over It and Move On

You also need to realize it’s important to get over things yourself. If you made a mistake, you made a mistake. You’ll have to deal with the consequences of your actions, but it’s still over and done with. Stuff happens, even to the best of us.

Try to Avoid Repeating the Same Mistake Twice

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

That’s an old saying that I’ve heard time and time again, but it’s pretty relevant in this situation. If you make a mistake once and realize what happened and why, you should make every  effort to avoid making the same mistake again. Of course that’s probably easier said than done, but … give it your best shot, for your own sake.

Don’t be Afraid to Take Risks

Even though you should try to avoid making the same mistake twice, you can’t be afraid to take risks. I’ve started several different websites that failed. If I hadn’t kept pushing forward, the Steve Scott Site might not be where it is today. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I’m repeating myself here, but we all make mistakes. No one is perfect, and we all screw up from time to time. If you’re so embarrassed by mistakes you’ve made in the past that you’re afraid to try new things, who knows what awesome stuff you’ll miss out on?

Take Action. Get Results.

33 thoughts on “Learn from Your Mistakes”

  1. Hi Steve
    Very encouraging post. I have made heaps of mistakes throughout my life and for a time lived with so many regrets. Then I realised I had to learn and move on. Took awhile but think I’ve finally got it. Also, when we have made mistakes and learnt the lessons we can help others. Can make us less judgemental and more compassionate cos realise I’m not perfect so why would I expect others to be.
    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Thanks Patricia, glad you liked it. Mistakes do happen to everyone big,small, powerful and weak. I would not want to meet the person who claimed they lived a life error free.

      The secret to make mistakes is learning how to deal with it and get on…

  2. Steve,

    A lot of times I have made mistakes in my life but I didn’t want to admit it. I have learned over the years to admit to my mistakes. This really helps getting over the guilt of making those mistakes…..And also not be a fool and make those same mistakes again…

    Another very inspiring post Steve…

    • Yup,

      Sort of like “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” Mistakes happen. Can’t do anything about that…but avoiding falling into a pattern of repeating the same mistake again and again is essential.

  3. I think the “get over it” is a biggie Steve

    People are so ready to hold onto their experiences with something that it cripples them from ever doing another action. You see this all the time whenever you pitch around ideas – someone will say “no, can’t do that, I tried it” what, like 10 years ago?! Times have changed, it didn’t work for you and it may not work for me but I’m sure as hell going to try!

    And, unlike the other person, you DO learn from your mistakes so if it doesn’t work out than you don’t let it stop you from moving on (like it did for them) and you sure as hell don’t use it to stop people from try it either.

    You know, thinking of this deeper, it’s a bit like when older people give you advice. Sure, they have experience but we have youth – we have time to fix our mistakes so do we take their advice or just learn it on our own? Does it become a cycle?

    We just have to push forward with what we want and do it.

    • Yeah,

      It happens all the time, it is new paradigms. People who do not know what is “impossible” can sometimes achieve success becuas ethey know no better.

      Even better though -as you alluded to- are people who are able to learn from there mistakes and fine tune until they get it right and achieve.

      A wise person young or old will take the wisdom of people with experience, but also not be scared to try new things…and perhaps fail, for every failure can bring you one step closer to success.

  4. Probably the biggest mistake I have made is to not have taken more risks, earlier on in my life. The older you get and the more responsibilities you have on your shoulders, the more difficult it gets to take on risks. Well, I cannot go back in time, but I’m certainly making efforts to take more calculated risks going forward. Today is tomorrow’s yesterday, and I better make mistakes today than another day.

    • You are spot on. Once responsibility is there it is close to impossible to take the big risks. Like the song goes, “when you ain’t got nothin’ ; you ain’t got nothin’ to lose”

      You can still take risks, they just have to be smaller and bite sized chunks. and of course mistakes will come there too!

  5. Hi Steve, I used to take it SO hard on myself for mistakes – but it’s not until you look back sometimes that you can see the lessons in each mistake – a cliché I know but so true….When I made mistakes in my career, it led me to better paths because it woke me up to new realities….when I made mistakes on not pursuing my passions, I dove into them with determination and stamina that on a good day can outshine the best 20 year old out there 😉 (Ok I may be opening this up for a competition but you get the gist)…..mistakes are inevitable. Acting as adults about them, that’s what we need to strive for!

    • Yup,

      I would go farther and say that mistakes (as long as they are only made 1 time) are great. They may suck when they happen, but you do not get a better life lesson out of it.

      You can theorize about the “right” thing to do all day. Once you screw up big time, you will remember that lesson until the day you die.

  6. Hi Steve:

    Outstanding post here as usual. Learning from your mistakes, and apologize, get over it, try to avoid repeating the mistake, Same mistake twice and do not be afraid to take risks.

    Covered it all it takes to change a person from immaturity to maturity. Every one learns from mistakes and that is why so many of us have such a great personality when they are older,as time has matured them and they like to apologies easily.

    • Fran,


      I think you covered the whole topic perfectly in your first two paragraphs!

      Mistakes are not bad. Only not trying to fix them, and being willing to make them again are bad.

  7. Awesome post steve! i agree with all your points man. Most especially the last point “don’t be afraid to take risk” you are right about that. besides the life we are living is at risk :D. thanks a lot for sharing have fun.

    • Thanks Samuel,

      Being able to take risks is very important. Particularly when people are young. You never know what can be achieved until you try. The worst that happens is failure and every failure just teaches you one thing that doesn’t work.

  8. Hi Steve,

    Nice post my friend. We all make mistakes, there is no one perfect on this earth. The key is to learn from our mistakes and move forward. I personally look at mistakes as opportunites that we go through. Thanks for sharing

  9. Hey Steve,

    Awesome post mate,

    The only way we can learn is by making mistakes but the right mistakes, if you make mistakes and don’t learn from them, then that is a big issue.

  10. Most successful people make more mistakes than others. First of all, you have to try new things to be successful. When you do so, you are likely to make some mistakes the first time out. Knowing how to handle and learn from your mistakes is really the difference between success and failure.

  11. When we make mistakes, we grow, we learn, and we continue to progress. Just don’t stop after you stumble because life is a tumbling road with no balance. So start climbing.

  12. Howdy Steve,

    Mistakes have gotten a bad rap over the years.

    There should be some kind of prize – kinda like the Darwin Awards – but from a successful mistake point of view.

    You know the type – a guy sneezes into a petri dish and creates penicillin or a dude invents explosives and a peace prize at the same time…

    Good post mister, thanks.


    • Barry,

      I really like the idea of a positive mistake award. Sounds like one hell of an idea. You even came up with two great ones! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a truly excellent comment!

  13. What would life be like if you had never made mistakes? I’m old enough now to view some of my mistakes as the best things that ever happened to me. I married the wrong man. IT was painful, but when I found the right one, I appreciated him far more. I look back on a lot of mistakes and realize that without them, life wouldn’t be as good as it is! George Bernard Shaw said that all progress is made by the unreasonable man, and unreasonable men take risks. I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to say that without risks, without mistakes, no progress would ever be made.

    Thanks once again Steve for a very interesting post.

    • Thanks Lesley.

      Some very good points, and a great quote.

      100% I agree. Mistakes can suck when they are happening, but you can recieve no better life lesson (for those that listen to the lesson)

  14. Steve,

    I agree, sometime making some silly mistakes like you mention can cause us some embarrassment but as long as we learn from it and move it, that is next best thing to do.
    I think many life lessons in my life are learnt and I am bit better because of many of these mistakes. If you get it right first time, there is no learning opportunity right?

  15. Hi Steve,
    Learning from mistakes is the prime way of learning something new. The world wouldn’t what it is today if we would all be perfect. Some of the greatest inventions have been discovered by accident..so there we go, mistakes is one of the best or worse thing it can happen to you.

    Success seems to be connected with action and successful people keep are taking action. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. Because that people consider their mistakes as experience, from this we can conclude that everyone who didn’t make mistakes hasn’t taken risks and tried something new.

    In conclusion I would like to end with a quote by Winston Churchill who can sum my comment:
    “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”

    • Alex,

      Great Churchill quote

      It is absolutely true that mistakes are not only learning tools, they can even inspire great inventions, as you and Barry have both pointed out.

      It really is all about attitude and viewing your mistakes in the right way.

  16. Hi Steve, I really enjoyed this one. I tend to beat myself up about mistakes, but I agree it’s best to apologize and move on.

    I’ve had several different careers and been involved in a few different small businesses. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they fail, sometimes they never get off the ground. You can always learn a lot if you pay attention.

    My blog was totally an experiment. I knew very little about social media when I started. I wasn’t sure if anyone would visit or subscribe outside of friends/relatives. I was perfectly ready to fail and I’m kind of surprised I didn’t crash and burn.

    Even better than learning from your mistakes, is learning from OTHER PEOPLE’S mistakes. That way you get the life lesson without the pain. 🙂

  17. Steve,

    Great article. We are all human, and making errors is the best way to learn. Some people are good at learning from others’ mistakes, but I have never been so lucky. I do tend to learn the hard way.

    I used to wonder what if….but I realized how pointless it was. I am exactly where I am supposed to be, even though I got here the hard way.

  18. You raise a lot of good points here. Making mistakes isn’t bad and many times it is even necessary to get where you want to be. For instance, many stand up comedians practice their material over and over again to see what is funny and what isn’t. They take the good stuff and tweak it a little for timing and delivery. Eventually, after years of practice, they have a good 45 minute routine. If you only look at it from an outside viewpoint, you won’t see the years of work and mistakes that went into it.

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