To start, no, that title has no typos (although that would be deliciously ironic). We all strive so hard to achieve flawless work and avoid doing anything wrong that we forget the old adage about learning from our mistakes. As philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey put it, “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” See what you can learn from making a mistake.
Your teachers were right.
Everyone makes mistakes. Think of anything you started doing for the first time. Did you figure out how to do it right off the bat? Or did you make beginner errors and slowly but surely learn what worked better and what worked best for you? We live in an era of perfectionism, but the fact of the matter is that if you live your life afraid to make mistakes, you’ll find yourself stuck most of the time, not attempting anything new until you master it first. And how can you master something until you’ve tried it and seen what doesn’t work?
Don’t view mistakes as failures.
You only fail when you don’t try. Think of the “failures” of Thomas Edison, who famously said he learned over 9,000 ways an electric light bulb didn’t work before getting it right. Think of Steve Jobs, whose early version of the Mac computer did so poorly that he lost his job at Apple. Think of J.K. Rowling, whose first Harry Potter manuscript received rejections from twelve major publishers. And while you may never achieve the fame of these three, you can still find something good in making mistakes if you persevere.
It will give you a chance to grow.
The concept of personal growth gets a little overdone at times, but it rings true: By doing something you fear or taking a chance on something new, you may fall flat on your face … but you might not. Or, in the words of the old song, you’ll pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again – but with that much more experience. View mistakes as experiences, both good and bad, and you can always move forward.
So try something this week, something that you’ve never done before, something that seems daunting, and see what you can get from it. And if you keep making mistakes in your job search, reach out to PrideStaff to help you out.