About avoiding those mistakes

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Orlando Huaman*

If you concern yourself with backing away from or avoiding repeated mistakes, you are not likely to find yourself “backing –up” into achievement or success.

It has been traditional to believe that the avoidance of mistakes will result in progress. Yet it should be clear that not getting what you don’t want, is quite different from getting what you do want. For instance, the avoidance of war, is not at all the same as the achievement of peace.

Yet world-moving theories have been based on the idea that study of what is not wanted will somehow reveal how to gain what is wanted. 

Karl Marx (not our of the same name) developed one such theory. His monumental studies of the Industrial Revolution’s ravages, its starvation, unemployment, slums, and great differences between the poor and wealthy—these led to his system to avoid inequities and hardships; socialism, Marx’s thoughts were more about sharing the wealth, than about multiplying and distributing it. It took a capitalist concerned with multiplying and distributing goods, Henry Ford, to spark practices which have increased and spread wealth more evenly throughout the United States than Marx ever dreamed possible in his socialistic economy.

Be concerned with what you want, rather than with what you don’t want!

Another world—moving theoretician gave his life to the study of the mentally sick. Dr. Sigmund Freud said that to be “normal” we must sublimate or redirect our natural aggressive feeling, and adjust with understanding to feeling of guilt arising from real or imagined mistakes (sins). Why should the study of the mentally sick teach a man about normal behavior? Why should we learn to adjust to what is the worst in us, or what is wrong in our attitudes?

Instead, be concerned with adjusting with what is right and best in you. Learn about your best, and use this knowledge both to live up to your best and to overcome your difficulties.

Do you drive a car? If you don’t, ask anyone who drives a car about this: What happens to the driver who concentrate on watching the ditches he wants to avoid, instead of keeping his eyes on the road he is travelling? The answer is, he ends up in a ditch.

If you want to avoid repeating your mistakes, and concentrate on how to avoid them, you are not likely to find success or make a habit of success. If you fix your mind on the problems and poverty you want to avoid, you will end up with both of them. Job said it better: “That which I feared most has come upon me.” On the other side, the man who led America from the depth of the depression, F.D.Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Be concerned with what you want, not with what you don’t want! Let precedent give way to principle in your life. 

Recognize that happiness, achievement and growth are normal, and look for ways to increase them, have more of them, the more you encourage them to settle into your everyday affair. Attention is a kind of reward and whatever you reward in life, you encourage coming back for more reward. 

Pay attention to the experiences which pay off most. 

STOP STUDYING YOUR MISTAKES, start and concentrate on studying your achievements and successes, however small they may be.

An important difficulty arises here. Suppose you have failed at something , or not done well at it;  won’t other people hold that against you? They probably will, but there are ways, to surmount obstacles like that.

It is customary to look for what is wrong with people, rather than for what’s right about them. “If you can’t make good at one thing,” says tradition, “how can you expect to make good at something else, something bigger?” But let’s say you are a good quarterback, and the coach puts you in at tackle. You play your heart out, and get slaughtered. That still doesn’t mean you are not a good quarterback, and might have won the game playing in your right position.

If you are put in the wrong job because of a company “convenience” and turn in a poor record, it will be held against you. But you are less likely to get over that hurdle if you try to say how wrong the company is, that if you develop proof of how much more effective you can be  for the company in another spot. The one way “blames” circumstances , the other take control over your own progress—to the benefit of both you and the company.

Again, this requires that you become well-acquainted with your achievements and the ingredients of those achievements. Throw modesty to the winds—false modesty, that is. You will admit to mistakes, so you might just as well, admit to achievements and small or large successes. And you should consider this: the applause accorded the man who admits his failures is rarely so excessive as to include promotion to bigger jobs where he can courageously admit to greater failure. Besides, if you don’t look at your achievements, why should anyone else?

We do have boasters and braggarts to spare, and “they still dwell loudly on past “accomplishments.” The big difference here is  you are not going to DWELL on past achievements, you are going to USE them and build on them.

In your pathway to greater success, you cannot USE failure, that is clear.

False modesty influences you to concentrate on your mistakes. It is only when you achieve, that you can express humility.  “Let your light shine” it says in the Sermon on the Mount, “so that others may see your good works.”

In answering to the question: Do You Ever Make Mistakes? Of course you make mistakes. All of us make mistakes. All of us wish we made fewer mistakes. And it seems that though we all vow never to make the same mistake a second time.

But let me give you a warning right now. The more time you give in studying your mistakes, the more likely you are to increase the number of mistakes you make. 

I won’t say it is impossible to learn from your mistakes. But it comes very close to that. One obvious reason is that you are not really willing to study your mistakes; they are painful to think about, and perhaps embarrassing. The more you think about them, the more pain you inflict upon yourself. So it is reasonable  that you stop thinking about them before you can study them thoroughly.

I’ll say it again. People don’t learn from their mistakes. Everyone says you should profit from your mistakes. I have said it too. But if you do learn or profit from your mistakes, you should want to make more mistakes in order to profit more. If you don’t agree with me, go ahead make more mistakes.

Moreover, the idea that you can learn from your mistakes is one of the biggest causes of failure. The old idea was: “admit your mistakes and thereby indicate your willingness to learn.” 

What amazes me more, is that people, at all level of intelligence still believe  they can learn from their mistakes. Poor fellows!

My advice: Learn from what you do right, not from what you do wrong. Amen

 

*Orlando Huaman is a freelance writer. Malololelei.

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