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Mistakes $@*#

Friday, December 01, 2023 8:00 AM | André Salvage (Administrator)

One of the more challenging aspects of teaching Kung Fu is how people react and their beliefs around mistakes—no matter how often I remind them there are no such things as mistakes or doing it wrong. Most of the time, what someone is doing is just not what we are doing now. Up windmills are not wrong; we are just doing down windmills for this lesson.

Unfortunately, no matter how I say it, many go straight to guilt, shame, and continuous loathing of the mistake and themselves when blunders are made. In life, we do the same thing. How many of you still emotionally beat yourself up over errors you made? We need a new way of looking at mistakes.

I understand mistakes to be Accelerated Learning Experiences.

If you think about it, mistakes accelerate and move you along your journey faster.

When you are walking and you trip over something, you move along the path faster. The problem is that instead of appreciating the acceleration, many feel shame, guilt, embarrassment, and anger at what tripped them and how they looked.

These are the protective habits, beliefs, and addictions that stop us from appreciating the lessons to be learned from mistakes.

The most destructive response is, “You should have known better.” Even if you were a child, innocent, confused, scared, never learned, or you were in survival mode, we tell ourselves we should have known—somehow, you should be “perfect.”

What these protections are actually doing is stopping you from growing.

How would your life be different if you saw the mistake as a lesson you would not have learned otherwise?

I never would have known…

I never would have understood…

I never would have seen…

I never would have learned…

So many lessons would be lost if not for the mistakes I made.

The next time you make a mistake:

  • Listen— to how it affected others
  • Apologize— for your part
  • Acknowledge—what happened and how it affected others
  • Take responsibility—for your part
  • Repair— any damage, if possible
  • And above all, ask yourself:

“What valuable lesson did I just learn that I would otherwise not have learned without making this mistake?” 

Whatever the learning is, receive it as if someone just gave you a hundred-dollar bill you dropped. You would accept it with gratitude and deep appreciation.

In summary, I believe your fighting and life would greatly improve if you embraced the following truths:

  1. Mistakes are accelerated learning opportunities.
  2. I learned something I would not have learned if not for the mistake.  
  3. All learnings should be received as if I am accepting a valuable treasure I misplaced.  

BTW, having this conversation is a powerful way to help children understand that they may not have learned the lesson without the mistake so they don’t grow up holding on to guilt and shame for the rest of their lives. 

What are your thoughts?

©André Salvage 1979-2024. All rights reserved.


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