Make Decisions In Alignment With Your Highest Values
“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”― George Bernard Shaw
It’s certain if you’re reading this that you’ve made mistakes throughout your life, some of which you may regret.
Mistakes are unavoidable because they are sewn into the fabric of life and none are immune to them.
You might fear making mistakes because you believe they are damaging. Sometimes they are, for example taking a wrong dose of medication, cheating on your spouse or illegal activities.
But primarily we are talking about life’s mistakes related to: career, finances, business, health, etc.
Mistakes are pivotal in your personal development and lead to massive personal growth.
Stephen R. Covey states in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “It is not what others do or even our own mistakes that hurt us the most; it is our response to those things.”
While mistakes are fundamental to your personal development, they can also erode your character and weaken your self-esteem. If you recollect back to your childhood, mistakes were associated with being reprimanded.
You may carry this burden throughout adulthood hoping to make amends, not realising you’re trying to heal something that is not broken.
I use the term purposefully in the title to draw your attention to living consciously, in contrast to automatically. The former invites you to make decisions that are congruent with your highest values and true character.
The latter denotes someone unconscious to their beliefs and motives. They act with little conscious awareness until much later on. They are living their childhood wounds without making peace with them.
Purposeful living means living intentionally with values that reinforce character. Therefore, if you are not making mistakes regularly, you are not abiding by your core values.
“Purpose in life is concerned with what we most deeply value, and purposeful living is concerned with whether we’re living for what matters most,” explains Victor J. Strecher in Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes
Mistakes are a doorway for inner expansion. They are pivotal moments in your life’s experience. The period that follows mistakes is characterised by a change in values and beliefs to coincide with a new level of awareness.
Mistakes Are Part Of Your Journey
“A mistake should be your teacher, not your attacker. A mistake is a lesson, not a loss. It is a temporary, necessary detour, not a dead end.” — Anonymous
I’ve had the good fortune of making countless mistakes throughout my life.
I turned my back on a career in the creative field because I was no longer passionate about it. This coincided with less than optimal health choices, including overconsumption of alcohol and junk foods, conducive to the creative profession I was in.
It took a health scare while abroad to evaluate what was important. When I look back on my mistakes, each one led to a shift in awareness and major breakthroughs.
You needn’t experience an awakening to receive the benefits of personal growth, however every mistake is an opportunity to expand your mental landscape.
You cannot make mistakes in a purposeful universe because there are no exams in life. I have no evidence of what takes place in the afterlife, let alone if it exists. For now, focus on the life you have and live it intentionally knowing mistakes are part of the journey.
Stephen R. Covey says: “Do not fear mistakes—fear only the absence of creative, constructive, and corrective responses to those mistakes.”
I was drawn to a comment on TV recently regarding a documentary about women living in the Australian outback, known for its harsh conditions.
One woman interviewed said something that personifies the spirit of life. After losing her husband in a tragic motorcycle accident on their property she said: “Life is not fair, but it is still good.”
In light of that, what if your mistakes were life leaving you clues to your success?
What if they were an opportunity to draw you closer to your goals?
Granted, they may be frustrating at the time and difficult to move past. The problem is not the mistakes themselves but your perception of them. It makes sense to consider problems as signposts leading to victory instead of obstacles slowing you down.
It was the late American businessman Thomas J. Watson Sr. who said: “Would you like me to give you the formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure … You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all … You can be discouraged by failure—or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that’s where you’ll find success. On the other side of failure.”
Live A Purposeful Life
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.” — Napoleon Hill
If you want to accomplish great things in life, strength of character is fundamental to achievement because it is developed in those tenuous moments.
To realise your goals, embrace mistakes and allow them to shape your character since you will appreciate them more when looking back on your life.
Mistakes are signs that lead to substantial inner growth.
They are crucial to nudging you closer to your goals and ambitions.
Mistakes are life’s way of teaching you vital lessons to expand your mind to new horizons you otherwise would not have expected.
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan believe, “Extraordinary results aren’t built solely on extraordinary results. They’re built on failure too. In fact, it would be accurate to say that we fail our way to success.”
“When we fail, we stop, ask what we need to do to succeed, learn from our mistakes, and grow. Don’t be afraid to fail. See it as part of your learning process and keep striving for your true potential.”
My past mistakes opened the doors to massive discoveries and a rise in motivation in the weeks and months that followed.
I liken it to once training with a boxing instructor years ago to improve my fitness. He would often strike me with a forceful blow to the head with focus pads when I dropped my guard. As much as I despised it, I become better at thinking on my feet and not reacting.
Therefore, my mistake of dropping my guard reminded me to protect my head at all times since I knew what would happen if I didn’t.
If you’re frustrated with your mistakes, I urge you to ask one simple question: “What could I possibly learn from this?”
That question alone will help you focus on solutions rather than being mired in your mistakes.
Consult those you respect whether they have made similar mistakes in the past. It might be the mistakes you’re making are ones most people make.
Ultimately, mistakes are crucial to learning and gaining knowledge and insights.
Learn to embrace them and rise above your fears to live a purposeful life that you have always sought to live.