Do You ACTUALLY Learn and Grow From Mistakes?
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SNW 011: Do You Actually Learn and Grow From Mistakes?

Do You Actually Learn and Grow From Mistakes?

Episode Summary:
When we’re growing up we will, unconsciously, learn from our mistakes.
That’s what teaches us to move fingers away from closing doors, or what’s cold enough to touch and what’s too hot.
However, we find it far more difficult to learn from our mistakes when we have to make a conscious, deliberate effort to do so.
There are four common reactions people have when they make a mistake.
In this episode I reveal what they are and why all four of them waste a valuable opportunity.
You’ll also discover the five steps you can use to actually learn and grow, not just from your mistakes, but from others as well.
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Episode Transcript:

“You should learn from your mistakes…”

A statement which I imagine everyone has heard before and agrees with.
Advice that sounds so simple and makes so much sense, that you would have thought everyone follows it.
And at a subconscious level we all do.
That’s how we grow and develop.
Take my daughter for example.
She used to shut doors in such a way that she would regularly trap her fingers in the door.
We kept explaining to her where she was going wrong, but she continued to do the same thing.
Until eventually, she started shutting the door in a safe way.
But she didn’t consciously learn how to do it from our advice.
Without her realising, her subconscious mind worked out that shutting the door in that particular way often resulted in pain.
So it worked out a way to protect her and found a new way to shut the door.
All these normal subconscious tasks, that we do every day, we have learned from our mistakes without too much of a conscious effort from us.
So, on the whole, it works well.
We make mistakes, it hurts or we get told off and we learn not to make that mistake again.
Or, we see someone else make a mistake and get hurt, or get told off and we learn through them.
However, we find it far more difficult when we have to make a conscious, deliberate effort to learn from our mistakes.
I believe there are four common types of reactions people have when they make a mistakes at work, or in their business, or in a relationship, or with money, or with parenting or with their health.
And they are:
Reaction #1. They refuse to accept they’ve made a mistake
They refuse to take any responsibility at all for what went wrong.
It was either someone else fault, or the governments fault, or the weathers fault, or the economies fault.
Or even if they admit they did make a mistake, it was someone else fault for making a mistake last week, or for putting them under pressure, or for giving them no choice.
Reaction #2. Accept they made mistakes, but never know what the mistakes were
They will hold their hands up, they know they’ve done wrong.
They will even apologise to anyone affected by their mistakes.
But they never know, with any clarity, what mistakes they made.
Reaction #3. They DO know what mistakes were made, but didn’t learn from them
They were so close.
They admitted to making the mistakes, they knew what the mistakes were,
but they just lacked the confidence, or the motivation, to learn how to do things differently.
And finally…
Reaction #4. They know their mistakes, they learn from them. But they carry on repeating the mistakes anyway!
And this is self-sabotage.
It’s their subconscious keeping them imprisoned within the walls of their beliefs.
A quick example to help me explain what I mean.
An overweight person can go on a diet, they can exercise and they will lose weight.
They’ve learned from their past mistakes, they DO now know what to do. They know which foods to eat to have a healthy balanced diet and what the best exercise is for them.
If their subconscious doesn’t believe they could ever be below a certain weight, this is what happens:
They’ll do all the right things.
They will keep losing weight, right until the very brink of breaking through their subconscious weight barrier and then… bang!
They’ll suddenly start binge eating junk food. They’ll suddenly stop exercising and their weight will start going back up.
That’s self-sabotage. That’s a great example of what I mean when I say you will always prove yourself right.
Your subconscious mind WILL keep you within the limits of your beliefs.
Ok. So they are the four common types of reaction people have to mistakes they make.
And all four of them waste the opportunity for people to learn, develop and stop themselves from repeating the same mistakes in the future.
To stop that happening to you, here are the five steps you can use to ACTUALLY learn and benefit from mistakes:
Step #1. Learn from others mistakes first
Every mistake you have ever made and every mistake you have yet to make, has been made by someone else already.
So learn from them.
Because the best time to learn from mistakes, is before YOU have them – not after.
There is so much information available, on how you can do anything you can possible think of.
There really is no excuse for not spending some time learning from others.
Learn from people who have already tried and failed, tried again and then succeeded – in whatever it is your trying to achieve.
Become that child again where you instinctively watch your mates  do something new, to see if they make a mistake or get a rollicking.
And if they did, you knew not to repeat their actions.
Step #2. Take Full Responsibility
So step one will reduce the amount and severity of the mistakes you’ll make, but you’ll still make them.
And when you do, take full responsibility for them.
This was my biggest failing.
The moment anything went wrong, within a split-second, my first thought was…
“Whose fault was that then? Who can I blame for this?”
Never, not in a million years, could it ever possibly be, my mistake.
So, of course, I never took responsibility.
If I wasn’t responsible, it couldn’t have been me who made a mistake.
And because I never made a mistake, there was nothing for me to learn.
Then I used to wonder why the same things kept going wrong!
It is your life. Take responsibility for it.
If you do not take responsibility, you’re not given yourself permission to work out what mistakes you made and, so, you’re denying yourself the opportunity to learn and benefit from them.
If your relationships keep failing, take responsibility and look at yourself.
You will be making mistakes…
Even if your mistake is you keep choosing the wrong partner.
Don’t keep blaming the other person, concentrate on your own faults first.
If you’re terrible with money, take responsibility.
You will be making mistakes…You cannot keep blaming bad luck, or the economy or the government.
Actually, that’s just reminded me…
I used to smoke, but it still made me laugh, when I heard people say something similar to:
“I’ve got bronchitis again… I blame the cigarettes!”
Not my responsibility.
Nothing to do with me and my 100 billion brain cells choosing to smoke.
It’s the cigarettes fault!!
But look, in all seriousness, when my company failed in 2008, I could have blamed the credit crunch.
I could have blamed our customers going out of business owing us money.
But I didn’t. I took responsibility. It was my fault.
Everyone knew the recession was coming.
I should have been prepared.
My business should have been recession proof.
But because I took responsibility, I discovered what all my mistakes were. And once I knew those, I could go out and educate myself and learn how to do things differently.
To ensure it would never happen again.
Step #3. Clarify What Mistakes You Made
Realising you made a mistake, but then saying “Yeah, I know I mucked up.”
Isn’t going to help you much.
You need to understand fully the mistakes you made, because you can only learn from mistakes that you know about.
Learn from your mistakes | The Super Now Wow Show | Grant J Marsh | Grant MarshTo unearth your mistakes, write the full story of what happened onto paper.
As if you were writing a book.
What your aims were, what the results were and what happened to get those results?
You may find it useful to write it in the third person.
For example, you could imagine you’re a detective trying to get to the bottom of what went wrong.
I’ve found that I gain a new perspective, as soon as I take myself out of the situation and write about it as an unbiased observer.
This thorough examination will extract the truth and that’s so powerful.
Because most people cannot learn from their mistakes, because they never realise what mistakes they are making in the first place.
Step #4. Learn From Your Mistakes
So far you have accepted responsibility, you know exactly what mistakes you made and so the next step is to learn from them.
Here are a few tips to help you do that:
One. Search for authors, bloggers, experts who have made the same mistakes as you in the past, but who are now successful.
Find out what they did and model them.
Two. Often, with the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious how we could have avoided many of the mistakes we make.
So to help you to fully understand and remember the lessons learned,
it’s a good idea to write a small report out detailing the mistakes made,
but you write it as an expert, teaching others how to avoid the mistakes you made.
And the report should answer:
What was you trying to achieve?
If you had your time again, what would you have done differently? and
What do you as the ‘expert’ now advise others to do?
Three. Ask others for their opinions.
What mistakes did they see? What’s their perspective on what happened? If they were you, what would they have done differently?
Be careful whose advice you take. Some may give you the answers they think you want to hear, some may feel uncomfortable being totally honest with you.
But you know whose opinions you trust and respect. And, as an outsider looking in, they may just provide you with some insight that you could have never seen.
Step #5. Check Your Mistakes Against Your Beliefs
You can accept responsibility, you can have absolute clarity on the mistakes that you made and you can learn how you should do things differently next time.
If your beliefs do not match what you’re trying to achieve – you will continue to make mistakes. You will continue to fail.
I’ll use my business failure again, as an example.
I had a long list of the mistakes I had made.
Ranging from lack of daily management of staff, through to poor marketing, right up to a deeply flawed business model.
Important business strategies and ideas that I needed to learn and understand.
Which I did.
But I also realised my beliefs were wrong.
I didn’t consciously realise it at the time, but I didn’t believe I was capable enough of managing above a certain number of staff.
I didn’t believe I was creative enough to devise successful marketing campaigns.
I didn’t think I was intelligent enough to build cash flow forecasts and I didn’t think I was good enough to build or run a business above a certain size.
So if I would have studied and learned just the practical things:
Like how to manage staff, how to build successful marketing campaigns, how to sell, how to build a website and so on.
Then that would have helped me, but only up to the point of me hitting the boundaries of my beliefs.
I could read a thousand books on how to manage staff successfully.
But I still wouldn’t have been able to build my company above a certain size, because I didn’t believe I could!
So I went away and learned both the practical ‘how-to’ stuff and I learned about myself.
I began to understand my beliefs, trace back where they came from and began to change them.
Or, here’s another way of looking at it.
You could read every piece of literature in the world on skydiving.
You could watch countless hours and hours on the art of skydiving.
You could spend years getting a degree on the subject.
You could gain so much knowledge, you could successfully teach others how to do it.
But if your beliefs tell you that you could never jump out of a plane…
Then you won’t!
No amount of practical know-how will ever beat your beliefs.
So do check to see if it’s self-limiting beliefs causing your mistakes.
Especially, if you keep making the same mistakes again and again. Because the cause of repeated mistakes, will almost certainly be self-limiting beliefs.
So they are the five steps to help you make less mistakes in the first place,
and help you learn and benefit from the mistakes you do make
And remember, we all make mistakes.
So when you realise you’ve made one, don’t be hard on yourself.
And if when you do make a mistakes, don’t throw away everything you got right.
It’s all too easy just to concentrate on the negative and forget about the 90% of your decisions you got right!
Learn From Your Mistakes: The Super Now Wow Show | Grant J MarshOur entire life should be a constant review.
Nothing we have ever done has either been 100% perfect or 100% wrong.
We should be continuously tweaking, accessing, improving and learning from the experiences we have in our lives.
Also, don’t over complicate the mistake. Don’t get overwhelmed.
Just be grateful that you realise what went wrong.
Congratulate yourself for being brave enough to sit down, admit your mistakes and work through them and learn.
Hardly anyone in the entire world does that.
Hardly anyone.
And never allow the fear of making a mistake be an excuse for you not getting started.
Don’t let mistakes paralyse you.
You’ve got to  get going.
Yes be prepared as you possibly can.
Yes, learn from other peoples mistakes, as much as you can.
But realise, ultimately, the best education you will ever receive is through experience.
Go out, get started and do something now to get the experience.
Because this week, these days, this ‘now’ is going to pass anyway.
So make this ‘now’ a ‘super now’ a super now that makes you go ‘wow!’

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