“To err is human” goes the oft-repeated saying that we keep hearing at various stages in our life. Yet we find it extremely difficult to admit that we have “erred” or made a mistake. Most of our lives are populated by mistakes in different forms at various stages. They can be broadly classified as:
- Saying something wrong
- Doing something wrong
- Following the wrong path
- Thinking in the wrong direction
While some mistakes might have a short-term impact, others might have a long-term impact on our future. But first let’s try to understand why it is so difficult for us to admit that we have made a mistake.
EQUATING MISTAKES WITH FAILURE – Mistakes are often associated with a sense of failure. A person who has made a mistake is often viewed as a failure by friends, family members and peers. People tend to look down on those who have made a mistake irrespective of whether it was unintentional or not.
INFERIORITY COMPLEX – People who make even small mistakes tend to feel inferior or intellectually incapable amid their professional peers or family members. They feel that they do not have the requisite skills to perform the required tasks being done by others. In order to avoid this feeling, they prefer to stay in denial about any mistakes or errors they have made.
FEAR OF LOSING CONTROL/RESPECT – People in positions of leadership or power prefer not to admit they have made a mistake since they feel they would lose the respect of their superiors as well as subordinates. They find ways to hide their mistakes or errors to avoid any kind of embarrassment.
Now that we have understood why people don’t like to admit their mistakes, let us understand some of the reasons why we should admit our mistakes and the advantages to be gained by doing so.
KNOWLEDGE TO PREVENT FUTURE MISTAKES – Once we admit that a mistake has been made, the reason behind the mistake can be understood to avoid repetitions in the future. Mistakes should always be considered as a learning curve that only makes us wiser and stronger.
GAIN RESPECT FROM PEERS – Contrary to popular belief, admitting your mistake only increases the respect we get from superiors and subordinates. Admitting your mistake is a sign of emotional and professional maturity and it also creates a lesson for subordinates that it is alright to make mistakes if we learn from them and take the required corrective action. It also shows a willingness towards self-improvement.
BOOSTS CONFIDENCE TO TAKE RISKS – Since mistakes and failure are associated with huge losses, people tend to play safe to avoid mistakes and avert losses. But once a mistake has been made and the required lessons learned, your confidence levels improve dramatically since you have understood your capacity to sustain the losses from a mistake.
STRENGTH WHEN FINGERS ARE POINTED – We are always surrounded by people by who derive immense pleasure from pointing out the mistakes and failures of others. This leads to a serious loss of confidence and self-esteem in those who have fingers pointed towards them. They develop the feeling that they can never do anything right since they always make mistakes. Once you have learnt the lessons from your mistakes, your confidence levels improve by leaps and bounds. This will help you to stay strong even when people are continuously trying to lower your confidence levels by pointing fingers.
A mistake can only make you better and stronger unless you decide otherwise. It is very essential to understand what could have been done to avoid these mistakes from happening. Once you lose the fear of failure and confidently start admitting your mistakes, nothing and no one can become an obstacle in your path to success.