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I get bored quickly with people who have decided to stop killing themselves with drugs, alcohol, food, cigarettes, online porn, sex or anything else that takes over a life and then suddenly become experts on everything…

The minute someone gives me a list of “10 things that will change my life” …. I’m gone! These people don’t have the answers to anything… they have opinions. Too often, they want to show me how to be like the “new them”! Chances are I didn’t like the old them, and I don’t want to know how to be like them now…

I am a recovering alcoholic/addict… I have figured very few things out other than if I want to live I have to stay away from drugs and alcohol. That did not require a list. That required change.

I have made every mistake on earth and haven’t learned a lot from most of them other than my choices in life have beaten the crap out of me on more than one occasion.

Recently, I read an article on mistakes that hit home and didn’t require me to do too much other than trace them … face them and erase them. I can do that! Here’s my take on what I read about mistakes… maybe it will help you if you’re dealing with too much baggage….

You might have been conditioned during childhood to hide your mistakes so that nobody else could criticize, judge or embarrass you for making it. On the surface, this might make you feel a little better. However, below the surface the mistake you made will eat you up with guilt. More often than not, when you make a mistake, psychologically the best thing for you to do is to admit that you made the mistake and took full responsibility for resolving things. Not only will this gain you the respect of your peers, but it will also give you peace of mind.

You made a mistake, and now you are responsible for fixing things and learning from your experience so that you can do better next time. This is how things should be. However, often people won’t admit their mistakes, and they certainly won’t learn from their experience. And as a result, they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again until critical lessons are finally learned.

Being at peace with your mistakes means that you are comfortable with your mistake and ready to learn what you can from your experience. However, to reach this place in your life, you must take to heart a few things.

First of all remember that the path to your goals is naturally riddled with mistakes; with errors of judgment; with unforeseen circumstances, and with miscalculated decisions. This is just a natural part of life. We’re not perfect, and that’s a fact. Nobody is perfect and everybody will make mistakes. They are what makes life interesting and fun. In fact, the bigger mistakes you end up making, the bigger the lessons you will learn, and the more you will grow as a result, which will provide you with a greater array of life experience and wisdom.

It is, however, important to remember that you are not your mistakes. Mistakes are what you do, and not who you are. You must not get this mixed up.

Secondly, when you make a mistake, it’s important to realize that you are in fact making progress. Mistakes are not a step back, but rather a side-step that will help you to see the path ahead with greater clarity as you keep moving forward. They are there to help you and to help balance you along your journey towards your desired outcomes.

Success is a result of ongoing failure and mistakes. Nobody has achieved anything worthwhile in this world without failing greatly and making a ridiculous amount of mistakes along the way. Your journey will be no different. Therefore, be at peace with that, and accept that mistakes are simply a natural part of life.

Shift Your Perspective About Mistakes

Stop viewing mistakes as something that’s negative and hurtful. Instead, begin viewing mistakes as opportunities to reevaluate the path you are taking towards your goals.

Is it possible that a mistake could help you find a short-cut that you previously overlooked? Or maybe it’s possible it might allow you to learn an important skill that will be vital for your future as you make progress along your journey. In fact, if anything, mistakes are a perfect opportunity to grow stronger and more resilient.

Resilience is something that will help you to keep pushing forward despite the obstacles and setbacks in your way. And the more mistakes you make, the more resilient you will become, as long as you proactively learn from these mistakes and adapt your approach accordingly.

Mistakes are also opportunities to correct your behavior. Maybe what you’re doing isn’t going to work out long-term. Therefore, the mistake you made today might very well alert you to this problem. Correct it, and you will be in a much more advantageous position in the future.

Mistakes present opportunities to analyze your decisions. Sometimes the decision you make might be out of line with the goals you want to achieve. A mistake will alert you to the fact that you are on the wrong path. Therefore, use it to redirect yourself back onto the right path.

When you make mistakes, they do two things well. For starters, they should indicate to you that you are in fact challenging yourself. Whenever you challenge yourself, this means that you’re growing and learning something new. Mistakes also indicate that there is room for improvement. And this is a very positive sign. If there was no room for growth or improvement, then what’s the point of doing anything at all. We would be where we want to be, and life would be stagnant. Hope for improvement provides us with something to work towards — something to strive for that will reward us for our efforts.

Finally, you must come to understand that mistakes are simply a part of the learning process — they are forms of practice and training that we do on a daily basis in preparation for the attainment of our big objective.

Like a boxer who trains every day for a big fight, you are also training every day to achieve that big goal. And like a boxer you will get hit and fall. In fact, you may even slip numerous times and fall flat on your face.

Yes, you made a mistake, but you also got up and kept moving forward. Your eyes are on the big goal, and not on the mistake; you made at the moment. Yes, of course, embrace the mistake and learn from it, but don’t let it discourage you from the big picture you are working towards.

Be Careful While Making Mistakes

When you make a mistake, it’s important that you don’t fall into the trap of trying to justify your mistake. Mistakes must be embraced not justified or rationalized. Unless you take ownership of your mistakes, you will never truly learn the lessons you must master to move forward in this area of your life.

It’s also dangerous to ignore any mistakes you make. Your mistakes are like signposts that help angle you in the right direction. By ignoring these sign-posts, you are risking getting side-tracked. And the longer it takes you to realize this, the more effort it will eventually take to get yourself back on the right track in the future.

On the surface mistakes don’t feel good. As a kid you were probably taught that mistakes were bad, however as an adult you must never indulge in self-pity or by feeling regretful that you made a mistake. This kind of behavior is never helpful and will only hurt your growth and development in the long-term.

When you make a mistake, it’s critical that you refrain from blaming others and even blaming yourself for the mistake. Just take responsibility for it, do something about it, learn from it, and move on.

Finally, realize that you are wasting your time when you begin complaining about your mistake or making excuses for it. This defensive-minded behavior is natural for most people. However, it cannot be natural for you. Quit complaining or making excuses. Instead, gain feedback about the mistake and make your observations that will help you to learn from this experience to improve your decisions and actions in the future.

This is my journey… this is my life.

Rob Cantrell

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