Using Mistakes Successfully

Each of us at one time or another has thought about how wonderful it would be to have as much foresight as hindsight. Then we could avoid

making mistakes! Not only is that hope unrealistic, it's also unwise. Mistakes are often the springboard for major accomplishments. Here's a good example:

Thomas Edison was working with a lab assistant who was coming up dry after over 700 experiments. In discouragement, the assistant told Edison that after all these mistakes, errors, and false starts, he simply didn't believe that the project was valid. Edison quickly told him that he wasn't wasting his time and that the assistant now knew more about the project than anybody alive. Edison wisely observed that the assistant hadn't made mistakes but instead had acquired an education as to what didn't work. Needless to say, the assistant went

back to his project with renewed vigor.

If you take Edison's approach to life, you end up accomplishing much, much more. You need to understand that after every mistake you can look

back and grow from the experience so that you can move forward with confidence and avoid making the same mistake again.

Here are three tips for handling a mistake, either at home or work:

1. Don't let a mistake depress or discourage you. See a mistake as a step on the road to a solution. Realize that depression and discouragement are negatives that limit the future.

2. Admit the mistake. Yes, admitting your mistakes takes courage, but recognition of errors is a sign of maturity. Not to recognize them is to deny them, and denial limits your future.

3. Understand that when you confront your mistakes, you can take full advantage of them as the positive experiences they can be. When you

ignore mistakes or try to conceal them, they almost always have a negative impact.


A talented author and speaker, Zig Ziglar has an appeal that transcends barriers of age, culture, and occupation. Since 1970, he has traveled over five million miles across the world delivering powerful life improvement messages, cultivating the energy of change. Since 1970, an extensive array of Ziglar audio, video, books, and training manuals have been utilized by small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, U.S. Government agencies, churches, school districts, prisons, and non-profit associations...

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