We all make mistakes, no doubt about it. Making mistakes can reflect our willingness to explore different attitudes, approaches, and behaviors.
If we’re lucky, mistakes also reveal powerful opportunities for personal development as we reflect on life’s lessons and take thoughtful action to make a change.
The following 10 mistakes may be painful in the moment, but can ultimately help you grow as a person.
For more encouragement to pick yourself up from failure and keep going, be sure to also read our selection of inspirational mistake quotes.
10 Mistakes You Can Make To Help You Grow
1. Say ‘YES’ when you want (and need) to say ‘no’.
Nothing hurts like agreeing to help someone when your plate is already more than full. You are guaranteed to feel even worse if you fail to come through solely because you’ve taken on too much.
Making mistakes like this will help you learn how to honor your existing commitments, respect your boundaries, and graciously decline when it is in the best interest of everyone involved.
When you say ‘no’ to one thing, you say ‘yes’ to another.
2. Neglect a cherished friendship.
Relationships must be nurtured and cared for over time in order to thrive. While life is incessantly busy, most treasured relationships can’t survive complete and utter neglect.
If you have a friendship that goes untended and you lose it as a result, you’ll re-evaluate the importance of the people you hold dear, and figure out how to better prioritize when it comes to those close to you.
3. Talk more than you listen.
Some of us are more prolific communicators than others, but there is always value in listening to alternative ideas and opinions. As the Native American proverb so aptly states:
“Listen or your tongue will make you deaf.”
Once you realize that you’ve missed out on a critical suggestion or interesting point of view that could have enabled you to work more effectively, you’ll likely take a step back. Listening and honestly demonstrating that you hear people is also a distinct means of giving others the respect that they deserve.
4. Live by default.
Making mistakes like drifting without purpose, helps you know what it is like to live by default.
There are advantages associated with being open-minded about the options that you encounter, but that is different from leaving your fate to chance.
The ideal way to create your best life is to move forward with intention. You can design your destiny by defining goals and actively pursuing them, even as they change over time.
5. Stay in a job that makes little use of your talents.
Our career options aren’t always ideal or apparent. We often grow into fuller knowledge of what we both enjoy doing and do well. If a role depletes your energy, saps your enthusiasm, or brings little in the way of satisfaction, it may NOT be aligned with your strengths.
A job that allows you to shine, however, will demonstrate the importance of working in an area that energizes and fulfills you. You can emerge from a cruddy job with a greater appreciation for your innate gifts, as well as an awareness of how you can uniquely contribute to others.
6. Assume that you have nothing new to learn.
If you make the mistake of thinking that you know it all, you’ll almost always miss out on the more subtle learning opportunities that emerge.
Your growth will come from the realization that those who are open to learning from others, regardless of their status, title or experience, will consistently find ways to gain new knowledge.
Furthermore, others will in turn ask you to share YOUR expertise if you are recognized and celebrated as a continuous learner.
7. Attempt to do everything on your own.
High-achievers often think that asking others for help is a sign of weakness, or otherwise indicative of an inability to succeed. Take on the world all by your lonesome at home or at work and you’ll quickly find that it isn’t sustainable for the long-term.
In reality, seeking assistance from others allows you to function in your ‘zone of genius’, instead of doing a mediocre job at everything. Collaborate regularly, and you can likewise lend a helping hand to someone else in need.
8. Surround yourself with chronic complainers.
If you have the misfortune of aligning yourself with negative co-workers or friends, you’ll quickly realize how such company can drag you down as well.
Nasty attitudes and pessimism are regrettably infectious. Making mistakes such as these can drive you downward – but are necessary to help distinguish positive influence.
Make a point to regularly connect with others who are genuinely optimistic about their own possibilities as well as yours. Maintain a positive mindset by keeping company with people who raise the vibration of the environment for everyone’s collective benefit.
9. Keep your dreams to yourself.
You may think that it is best to keep your visions of your future fantastic self in your head; however, this mistake ultimately robs you of the accountability and support that can transform your dreams into reality.
Find a trusted confidant that you can share your dreams with to bolster your confidence and encourage your forward momentum. Giving voice to your dreams puts you all the closer to taking action to drive progress. Full speed ahead!
10. Take feedback personally.
While it isn’t always easy, personalizing critique from others will minimize your chances for self-improvement.
Be sure that you are asking for feedback on a routine basis, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Furthermore, review the input objectively and think about how you can apply some – if not all – of what you’ve heard.
Likewise, do your best to provide others with timely, constructive feedback. True transformation comes from an ability to manage your ego so it doesn’t derail your future evolution or result in attacks on others.
Making mistakes suggest that you are willing to move beyond the status quo towards change. Challenge yourself to find the key themes that you can apply from every interaction, situation, or personality that you encounter.