How Do We Grow?
We Learn From Mistakes
Self-Awareness 101 Episode 2: The Only Way We Truly Learn Is We Learn From Mistakes... We Learn By Failing
Success in any endeavor depends on your ability to learn from mistakes.
Willard discusses that the only way that we truly learn, is by making mistakes and failing. Over time, we have become conditioned to avoid exploring our true potential because we fear failing and making mistakes. Yet, the only way that we can experience life, step outside our comfort zone, make mistakes, learn, then continue on applying the lessons and growing.
< EP 1: Developing Self-Awareness EP 3: Let Go Of The Past >
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Have you ever avoided even attempting to do something you really wanted to do... something you were passionate about... just because you were concerned you would make a mistake? You thought you would fail? Or maybe you thought you would just look silly? Did you even wonder what you could learn from mistakes you made?
Our culture has conditioned us to have this idea of perfection in everything we do. We believe that we must be perfect, whether it’s the perfect look, the perfect hair, the perfect speech, the perfect presentation. And we end up using the excuse that we aren't perfect to prevent us from even trying. We're so afraid of failing, that we just make excuses of how we don't have the skill, the time, the money and then accept our "lot in life".
Think about it. How many people do you know that stay in relationships, in jobs, in situations that are not healthy for them, because they fear making a bigger mistake?
The reality is that the only way we ever truly learn something is to learn from mistakes. No one does something "perfectly" the first time they try. Not even the most gifted person in the world. Failing, making mistakes, and taking the opportunity to learn from mistakes, gives us the opportunity to uncover areas we can work on improving that we never knew existed before we failed.
I'll give you an example for me personally. In 1998, I left a very well paid position as a DJ in NYC to start a new career as a professional speaker and a coach. I had no experience in business. I didn't know how to market; I didn't know how to find clients. I didn't know how to do the finances for a business. It was totally new opportunity, something I had never done before, but I was so excited about it that I went out and just "did it". I jumped in with both feet... and I failed miserably. Within 2 years, I was considering leaving the industry. I went in debt, I lost my apartment, I sold pretty much everything I owned just to survive. This happened because of making bad decisions in regards to partnerships, mistakes in how I marketed myself or more to the point mistakes in the lack of marketing and just bad decisions financially over all that led my early attempts at business to failure. It completely put me in a bad place financially for a very long time. And even more it really did damage to my confidence level. But it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life as I look back, because the only way that we truly learn, is to learn from mistakes.
You can read every book in the world that you want about how to build a business or about how to sky dive or about how to do anything that you want to do, but its not until you actually step into the experience, until you actually apply yourself, until you actually make mistakes then learn from mistakes that you made that your behavior changes and you implement what you have learned. You can't learn how to course correct, how to adjust, and how to succeed at whatever it is you are choosing to do, until you make mistakes first.
I'll give you an example, walking. Pretty much everybody that you know, unless limited by some disability, walks. And I'm willing to bet that pretty much everybody that you know did not succeed the first time they tried to walk. Most people were barely able to get off their butt the first time before they fell down. And then they had to adjust, internally they had to think, "What was wrong? Why did I fall? What happened with my balance? What do I need to change? What can I learn from mistakes that I just made?" They do this unconsciously... and then they make the adjustments and get up a little farther before they fall again. And they repeat the internal process, failing, evaluating, and adjusting. And then finally after three or four tries (many more for most of us), they finally got to point where they were able to stand... for 2 seconds... and then they fall.
Can you even begin to count how many times a baby falls before it actually takes its first step? There is no fear of failing. It's all about how they learn from mistakes they made, and then making adjustments based on what they learned that allows them to actually achieve the outcome.
Over time, we've become conditioned to fear failing. Whether it’s from school, whether it's from well meaning adults, or from friends who just enjoyed laughing at us, we get scared to even try something, because we don't want to look silly. We don't want to make a mistake because we've been taught that making a mistake makes us "less than".
Or again, because our culture conditions us to believe that we must be perfect. We see so much on TV, the perfect wardrobe, the perfect body style, the perfect words being spoken at the perfect moment... we think that is the way we have to be... perfect, the first time, and no mistakes. The viewer doesn't see how many times we had to shoot this little 4 minute episode to get it right. And it's still not "perfect".
What if we were conditioned in a new way? Instead of getting the red mark on our paper, whenever we did it wrong. Or what if instead of when we got the laughter, the embarrassments, what if we decided to learn from mistake and were instead conditioned for success? Knowing that mistakes are going to happen, that failures are going to happen, and rather than looking at the downside, we ask ourselves, "What did I learn? What did I do right? What can I do better next time?"
That experience of failing in business put me in really bad shape financially, mentally and emotionally. AND it also opened up the opportunity for me to study with some of the great leaders in business. It forced me to learn how to market myself more effectively, how to manage my finances better as well as made me grow overall as a person. I wouldn't be who I am; I wouldn't do things the way that I do now, if I wouldn't have made those mistakes. I did learn from mistakes to achieve this.
So I invite you to think back in your past. What's something that you are very accomplished at now, that the first time that you tried, you failed miserably? Give yourself the gift of coming up with a couple of ideas, a couple of experiences because this will give you unconscious references for the future.
The next thing I want you to think about is, what's something you've been avoiding doing, because you've feared making a mistake or failing, or just that you will look silly? Make a list of two or three of those big and small things you may have been avoiding.
And finally, what is ONE STEP that you can take, right now, towards achieving one of these things you've been putting off? I can pretty much guarantee you that you are going to make mistakes. And when you do, pick up that earlier list I asked you to make, of the things you are accomplished at now, that you failed at when you first began, and use that as a resource to push you past the fear. It's simply about remembering how we succeeded in the past. Fail, learn from mistakes that led to failing, make the adjustments from what we learned and move forward... that's truly the only way we ever achieve the outcome we are ultimately shooting for.
So again, I wish you the very best, make sure to write in your journal, or leave some notes here. And feel free to share these ideas with other people.
We look forward to seeing you again.
< EP 1: Developing Self-Awareness EP 3: Let Go Of The Past >
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Choose the next Episode you would like to watch from the list below:Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription PlusIntroduction To Self-Awareness 101:
To Inspire, Educate and EmpowerSA 101 Episode 1:
The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from MistakesSA 101 Episode 3:
To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The PastSA 101 Episode 4:
The Meaning That We Give ThingsSA 101 Episode 5:
Kind Words And Good Deeds Are EternalSA 101 Episode 6:
Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort ZoneSA 101 Episode 7:
Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever SaySA 101 Episode 8:
Making Time For What's Truly ImportantSA 101 Episode 9:
Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To BeSA 101 Episode 10:
Tap Into The Sources Of The UniverseSA 101 Episode 11:
The Four AgreementsSA 101 Episode 12:
Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up AnywaysSA 101 Episode 13:
The Power Of Belief SystemsSA 101 Episode 14:
Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is OptionalSA 101 Episode 15:
Establishing Personal Boundaries, It's OK To Say NoSA 101 Episode 16:
Encountering External Resistance To ChangeSA 101 Episode 17:
Creating A Supportive EnvironmentSA 101 Episode 18:
Our Decisions Determine Who We BecomeSA 101 Episode 19:
Personal Development TestsSA 101 Episode 20:
A List Of Excuses Vs. ResultsSA 101 Episode 21:
The Meaning Of HonestySA 101 Episode 22:
Living In GratitudeSA 101 Episode 23:
Repetitive PatternsSA 101 Episode 24:
Non-Verbal CuesSA 101 Episode 25:
Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of OthersSA 101 Episode 26:
Positive Thoughts And Positive IntentionsSA 101 Episode 27:
Active Listening SkillsSA 101 Episode 28:
How Self-Awareness Relates To SpiritualitySA 101 Episode 29:
SA 101 Episode 30:
Basic Meditation ExercisesSA 101 Episode 31:
Personal Development At WorkSA 101 Episode 32:
Toxic ShameSA 101 Episode 33:
Eliminating ClutterSA 101 Episode 34:
How To Forgive OthersSA 101 Episode 35:
Self-ForgivenessSA 101 Episode 36:
Deepening Self-AwarenessSA 101 Episode 37:
What Is Fear?SA 101 Episode 38:
How To Overcome FearSA 101 Episode 39:
Dealing With Your AngerSA 101 Episode 40:
How To Find Your PassionSA 101 Episode 41:
Increasing Your Self-AwarenessSA 101 Episode 42:
How To Feel DeservingSA 101 Episode 43:
How To Be A Humble ObserverSA 101 Episode 44:
Progress Not PerfectionSA 101 Episode 45:
Expectations And PerfectionismSA 101 Episode 46:
Dealing With AngerSA 101 Episode 47:
Taking Responsibility For YourselfSA 101 Episode 48:
Achieving Higher ConsciousnessSA 101 Episode 49:
Trust LifeSA 101 Episode 50:
Being SkepticalSA 101 Episode 51:
Benefits Of ClosureSA 101 Episode 52:
The Final Episode
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