Why Is It Important to Acknowledge and Learn From Your Mistakes?

Quickly identifying mistakes and altering behavior accordingly requires less time and energy than denying mistakes or wallowing in them. The brains of people who believe learning from mistakes is important are more efficient than the brains of people who do not acknowledge mistakes. Clinical psychology research suggests that how people view mistakes dictate how well and how often people learn and progress.

Acknowledgement of mistakes requires belief in the idea that perfection is not possible. Blaming, denial, self-pity and ignorance are all counterproductive to acknowledgement. Analyzing mistakes rather than quantifying them prevents people from making excuses for their errors. Identifying valid reasons for mistakes differs from making excuses. Brainstorming after errors helps people identify key aspects of a failed action rather than excuse the actions.

In order to create the best opportunity for acknowledgement and learning, it is important to step away from the mistake, physically or mentally. Analysis of mistakes is easier when the emotions that immediately follow errors are out of the equation. Anger management techniques such as deep breathing and journal writing are useful and lead to acknowledgement and learning. Talking to others also helps people sort out the criticisms after a mistake is made. Similar to other brain processes, learning from mistakes improves and becomes easier with practice and repetition. Despite the human tendency to avoid mistakes, timely acknowledgement of them is one of the best ways to reduce their frequency.