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Monday, October 3, 2011

Make a Mistake? Belief in Yourself is Key to Correct Errors

Happy People Make Happy Mistakes
 'Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.'
William James

 Do You Believe You Can Learn From Your Mistakes? 

Mistakes happen. It's what happens after you make the mistake that's interesting.

When you make a mistake, which path do you choose?
  • Do you move forward to problem solve and figure out how to correct your error--and ultimately bounce back from making the error?
  • Or do you feel stupid, inept and give up?

Whether You Believe You Can Grow Smarter or Not Determines How You React to Mistakes

It turns out whether you believe you can grow smarter or not determines how you'll respond to making mistakes--whether you'll take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes or  just give up.

According to a recent study looking at brain activity in response to making mistakes, people who believe they can learn from their mistakes have brains that pay more attention to mistakes--and they share a belief that intelligence isn't fixed--it can be shaped (i.e. we can learn from our mistakes).

If you believe intelligence can be shaped you think 'I learn from my mistakes', 'happy mistakes', or 'a mistake is just a learning experience'.  But if you believe you either have the smarts or you don't (you have a fixed intelligence) you fail to take actions to learn from your mistakes and just give up.

Act As If  is the Key to Overcome Belief Preventing You Learning from Mistakes

Okay, so now you know. You hold the key to bouncing back from making mistakes in your head--If you believe you can grow smarter you can make happy mistakes and learn from them. But what if you're one of the people who simply believes you're not smart?  Then you Act As If--and step over the invisible belief barrier to taking action.

When you make a mistake or error-- don't think, act as if
Act As If:
  • You can learn from your mistakes and grow smarter. 
  • You have confidence in yourself.
  • You can correct your mistakes.
  • It matters that you know the correct answer to perform better in the future.
  • You are coachable.

Beliefs Follow Actions

Why does 'acting as if ' work?  Research shows if you want to change a belief, take action. When you experience a discrepancy between what you believe and how you act, you will change your beliefs to follow your actions. Acting as if you can grow smarter will result in you believing you can --and improve your ability to learn from your mistakes.

We all want to be the best we can be and therefore hate making mistakes and looking stupid. But our brains are wired to make mistakes so errors are going to happen. When you make a mistake, stop thinking and step into problem solving instead. Get the most out of your life--show yourself you're someone who learns from you mistakes.
 'There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.' The Buddha

Many thanks to Grant Soosalu in Australia for sharing the study in his Life Enhancing Blog. Please visit Grant's post @

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