“If you are not making mistakes then you are not doing anything.” All-American Basketball Player and Ten-Time National Champion Coach John Wooden
Correcting mistakes is one of the things that successful people do. Everyone makes mistakes. Successful people learn from them. They do not repeat them.
When I make a mistake and owe an apology, I tell the person that I regret the way I handled a certain situation. If I had it to do over again, I hope that I would have handled it differently. I then say that I will not repeat the mistake, and I don’t.
Correcting mistakes is not always possible.
Some mistakes I can’t correct. When I was a Navy officer, I had responsibility for over a dozen projects. One of those projects was the cruise book. This book was similar to a class yearbook. I had a cruise book editor assigned to the project. This man got an early out from the Navy. I appointed a new person to take over the project. He had not been aboard for the entire cruise. The finished cruise book was terrific. However, there were photographs of one ceremony that did not make it into the finished cruise book. The ceremony was important to our captain. It was the day the ship crossed the equator. The captain was the only person who noticed that the ceremony were missing. We had published book. There was no way to add the ceremony pictures to the book.
I told the captain that I regretted the mistake. I did not make any excuses or say anything about the change in the cruise book editor. Fortunately, there was a lot that was good about the book. I let him say how this oversight bothered him. Then he talked about the things he liked about the book. We both moved on.
Living with regret is pointless.
Sometimes things continue to bother me that I can’t change. Rather than ruminate over these things, I write them down. I talk with a friend about these things. Writing and discussing things that bother me with a close friend allows me to move on.
Mistakes happen. Some of the mistakes I can correct. Some of the mistakes I can avoid repeating. Some mistakes I just have to process and move on. I can’t cry over spilled milk. I can’t cut sawdust. Successful people live in the present moment. They know that everyone makes mistakes. They don’t let mistakes ruin their day or their career. They learn and do things better in the future.
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