Mistakes are costly. You can make one wrong move, and it could cost you your entire life. There is a lot on the line when you think about the mistakes you could make. That should give you the incentive to want to learn as quickly as possible from errors.

This article will go over why it's important you learn from mistakes and how to make sure that you're doing it as quickly as possible.

“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.” Paul Bear Bryant

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 Why You Need to Learn From Mistakes

You can waste your entire life away, making the same mistakes over and over. Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.

You see, people do this with their finances all of the time. They get into financial trouble from spending more money then they have, and then relying on credit cards. That credit card debts add up and eventually becomes too much to bear.

All of this stems from a bunch of small mistakes being made. You can learn from these mistakes and go in a different direction, or you can continue doing the same things you were doing before. Many people do this with their money year after year and have no idea why they can't get out of debt.

If you want to be successful in any area of life, you must first be willing to make some mistakes. There is no one he becomes great at anything without first messing up. The key is minimizing the cost of the errors and then learning from them as quickly as possible.

The more you can learn from mistakes, the quicker you know what you need to do to succeed.

If you want to be successful in any area of life, you must first be willing to make some mistakes. There is no one he becomes great at anything without first messing up. The key is minimizing the cost of the errors and then learning from them as quickly as possible.

The Danger in Trial and Error  

You may be thinking that the best approach is to keep trying new things until you figure out what works. Using the example above, after trying out running up consumer debt, you could keep trying different strategies until you find the one that works for you. This sounds great, but there are some fundamental problems.

*I first learned about this concept from the book the Selfish Gene

Risk 

The first problem with trial and error is how risky it is. If you're ignorant of the best way to move forward, how do you know that the next trial won't cost you everything you have? Someone could risk jumping out of a building as trial and error and die! The risk is not worth any possible reward you could get. 

You always want to find a way to minimize the risk. Successful people are masters of this. They are obsessed with finding a way to mitigate their risks. Its why pro athletes practice and actors rehearse. When you get your moment to shine, you want to be well comfortable with what you need to do.

Time

The second issue with trial and error is the time it could take. Let's say you know that you're not at risk of dying or losing your money. You still don't have unlimited time to live.

Life is short! The older you get, the quicker you realize it is, and you begin to appreciate your moments much more. If you're going to the method is always trial and error, what if you're 80 years old and still trying to figure out how to be smart with your money? It's too late at that point.

The first problem with trial and error is how risky it is. If you're ignorant of the best way to move forward, how do you know that the next trial won't cost you everything you have?

Why Books and Mentors Are The Best Way to Learn From Mistakes  

If you want to learn from mistakes fast and with minimal risk, books and mentors can do it. Think about it for a second, you could buy a book that costs $5 at a used book store, and it could save you years of mistakes.

The risk of a book is minimal; even if you buy the wrong one, you're losing $10. You have sites like Amazon that allow you to read reviews of books to decrease your risk even more.

When you read the right books, something amazing happens. You save a tonne of time because you learn exactly what you need to do without going out and making the mistakes yourself. 

Mentors provide this same insight, but they are much harder to acquire compared to books. You can read books right now of dead people, and some of the greatest minds alive. Many have left all of their secrets behind in books. 

The more you read, the more commonalities you begin to pick up. You start to see that all successful people have certain things in common. This begins to decrease your risk of following the wrong advice. 

When you read the right books, something amazing happens. You save a tonne of time because you learn exactly what you need to do without going out and making the mistakes yourself. 

4 Ways to Learn From Your Own Mistakes 

You can read all of the books in the world and still make mistakes on your own. You can never fully get away from the reality that you're going to make mistakes. But one thing you can do is be determined only to make them once. 

Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice and shame on me. 

1. Admit It

You have to admit that you messed up. If you don't acknowledge that there is a problem, you will see no reason to go through the remaining steps. You will never see a need to learn if you can't admit that something is wrong to begin with.
 
Be authentic and embrace the fact that you're not perfect. When you can accept that mistakes will come, you will have an easier time catching them. Admit your mistake as quickly as possible so you can move on to the next step.

2. Learn From It

People spend no time thinking about problems. There is always a rush to get to the solution. You can never create an excellent solution until you fully understand what the problem is. 

You need to think deeply about your mistake and understand everything about it that you possibly can. Once you have analyzed it enough, you can begin working on solutions to make sure that you don't make the same mistake twice. 

3. Reflect

It would help if you reflected regularly. One of the reasons I love to keep a journal is for this purpose. Every day I can reflect on some of my mistakes for the day. Most people only take time to reflect after a year. That is too much time, why give yourself 365 days to be off track when you can give yourself seven or even 30 at most. 

When you reflect on your choices each week or month, here are some questions you can ask yourself. 

  • What mistakes have I repeated? 
  • What mistake am I making that I am trying not to pay attention to? 
  • What do I need to learn? 
  • What course or book would help me the most right now? 

The more frequently that you go through questions like these, the quicker you can correct yourself if you're starting to get off track. 

4. Don't Repeat

The last step is not to make the same mistakes. Do everything in your power not to do it. You won't learn anything new. If you can at least make a different mistake, then you will get to learn something new. 

People spend no time thinking about problems. There is always a rush to get to the solution. You can never create an excellent solution until you fully understand what the problem is. 

Conclusion 

Everyone learns from mistakes, but no one ever said that they have to be your own mistakes. Spend time learning from others' mistakes, and you can reduce the risk you take on and spend less time figuring out the best path to take.

When you do make mistakes, you have to admit that mistake as quickly as you can. Once you can accept it, you can begin to analyze the problem and create a solution that will work for you.

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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