The dictionary definition of a mistake includes errors of judgement, poor decisions, misconceptions, and misunderstandings. Mistakes come from lack of something – awareness, knowledge, caring, understanding etc
Making progess is only possible if mistakes are recognized. In any situation where there is an impasse it is wise to look for a ‘mistake’, some incorrect interpretation of events, incorrect assumptions or poor past decision making.
We can be very quick to point out the mistakes of others (our judgement in this regard may be a mistake in itself!) and slow to see the errors of our own ways. No one is immune from the blind spots from which mistakes arise. You will have certain beliefs, for example, which are not the product of truth.
It is unrealistic to have an expectation that mistakes can be avoided. This being the case we need to ensure that we position ourselves to recognize mistakes, as soon as possible, and then take corrective action. This requires us to be humble – pride can be a great impediment to recognizing a mistake.
Successful people don’t so much avoid mistakes as recognize them, act to take corrective action and learn the lessons to avoid a recurrence. We should not be afraid to make mistakes as this will stop us from taking the risks necessary for our growth. When the lessons are learned from mistakes there is clearing away of illusion and the mistake itself can be seen as a step in the right direction.
In order to recognize mistakes we need to cultivate open mindedness, and actively encourage the probing and challenge of others.
It can be very painful for us to admit to ourselves, some mistakes we have made, particularly if they have caused hurt to loved ones. In such situations it is important to focus on what we can do now to rectify the situation and not succumb to pointless self recrimination, guilt and shame. We need to remember that anything we do, at a point in time, is based on the level of awareness we had at that time and can arise from the best, as well as the worst of intentions.
An ability to be ‘big enough’ to admit to mistakes is an important measure of a person.