“A Mistake Is Valuable If You Do These Four Things With It”

Two White Wooden Mannequins on Wooden Chess Board
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John Wooden famously said, “A mistake is valuable if you do four things with it: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.”

You cannot grow without making lots of mistakes. The difference between you and those avoiding mistakes is what you do with it. If you are avoiding mistakes, you are also avoiding growth and development- personally and professionally. You cannot grow without making mistakes.

Let us look at what you can do when you make a mistake or mistakes, according to John Wooden.

According to John Wooden, when you mess up badly, you should do the following things:

Recognize it. When you make a mistake, don’t hide it from your people. Let them know what has just happened. If you keep it away from people who can help you, you are making it worse.

Admit it. When you screw up badly, just admit it. I know this is hard for some people to even think about. Some people would rather die than to admit that they mess up. Know this: if you have the courage to admit your mistakes, your people will never let you down. You will become the leader or a person that people want to follow to hell. It takes courage to do that. But if you have the courage to do it, you will enjoy it.

Learn from it. When you make a mistake, do you walk away from it or you learn from it? A mistake is not a mistake if you have the character to learn from it. If you don’t learn from your mistake, you will miss the opportunity to learn and grow. If you make a mistake, take a deep, deep breath to analyze it, to think about it. Ask yourself, what went wrong? Think about how to make it better next time. Note: Do not blame yourself. Celebrate yourself for making a mistake.

Forget it. When you make a mistake, don’t let it steal your happiness away. Admit that you made a mistake, learn from it, forget it, and move on.