Rule #17: Welcome Mistakes

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Mistakes. Are they a blessing or a curse?

Our confusion stems from two paradoxical messages we hear about them:

Message #1: Mistakes are evil -- avoid them at all costs.

Message #2: Mistakes are one of life's most powerful learning tools. Pursue them.

Which are we to believe?

Listen to the professionals at the Medical Center of Central Georgia, in Macon, Georgia:

"A mistake is actually the first step in learning. When trying to learn something that is new to you, the learning comes from making a mistake and correcting it. If you make no mistakes, you don't learn. I like snow skiing and when I take a lesson the instructor usually reminds me, 'If you are not falling, you are not learning.' So mistakes are not bad, they are good. Maybe you should make as many mistakes as you can in order to more quickly learn. The next time that you make a mistake, become excited and say to yourself, 'This is great. I am going to learn something now!' Try this 'rethinking' approach to any problem and your mood and behavior will improve."

This chapter explores the importance of making mistakes and offers each of us five choices on how to regard mistakes. Should we:

  1. Deny them?
  2. Acknowledge them?
  3. Accept them?
  4. Welcome them?
  5. Pursue them?

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