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Learn from mistakes, but learn the right lesson

We make mistakes. And some times, those mistakes can be very embarrassing. Last week, I did something embarrassing in front of a lot of people. I reacted to something that was said in a way that showed that I had misunderstood what was said. And there were about twenty people watching.

That could have been a trigger for me to think several times before acting out in front of an audience that big. But I shouldn't let that be the case.

We need to learn from our mistakes. And the more embarrassing the mistake, the more long lasting the lesson learnt will be.

But, there are two things that we can learn from such an experience. And while one is a good lesson to learn, the other is detrimental to our development and our personality.

First, what's detrimental.

If the lesson we learn is to think a hundred times before acting out again in front of a similar audience, we are limiting ourselves. This will only foster a lack of confidence that affects other areas as well, and adversely at that.

The experience we had was not the fault of the audience that was there to witness it. It was something that happened because we didn't know what was right (lack of knowledge), or we believed something to be right or acceptable and that wasn't the case (misinformed).

If the lesson we take away from this is to not indulge in such an act again, then we stand to lose out.

Many people are afraid to ask questions in a meeting with a big group of people, or to ask a question in a class, or to answer a question in a class or a meeting. And this is usually because of this kind of a learning from a previous experience.

When in the habit of holding back from acting, it is easy to rationalise things in our heads and not seek out the information that might be useful to us.

Whereas, when in the habit of taking action, we constantly seek to be prepared and this builds up better habits in the long run and builds up confidence at the same time.

It is easy to shy away and stick to ourselves, but that's all we will ever do.

The right lesson to learn is to gain the knowledge that we were lacking so that we won't be in this situation again, or to correct our understanding in case we were misinformed about something. 

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