I had a cocky friend who made a really big, unchangeable mistake. He noticed blood in his stool for a long time, and did what he always did with uncomfortable situations– ignored it, figuring it was no big deal. He continued to bleed, and have other symptoms which he dismissed, putting off a colonoscopy, even though he was 56 years old, and well within the age range for the test. Sadly, three years later he died of colon cancer, a consequence which might very well have been averted had he dealt with his symptoms earlier. Many people, like John, either ignore negative feedback, or get immobilized and “go catastrophic” when they’ve made a mistake. Many mistakes, when viewed dispassionately, however, are not earth shattering or fatal. If you change your thinking about a mistake, it can open amazing change. Instead of framing it as your own stupidity or carelessness, think of it as VITAL INFORMATION POTENTIALLY USED FOR CORRECTIVE ACTION AND IMPORTANT LEARNING. (When you’re in a close relationship, I can assure you that your partner will greatly appreciate this calmer, more grown-up approach to mistake management):
1. Indulge your fit briefly to get it out of your system.
2. Take some deep breaths and rate the mistake on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being a fixable annoyance, and 5 being something catastrophic and irrevocable.
3. Think of remedial action plans A and B if the mistake is in a “fixable” category.
4. Implement the corrective actions, then notice the effect, or “read the feedback loop” as I say.
5. Reflect upon the lesson learned and how you can apply it to future behavior, so you don’t become a professional victim in life.
6. Forgive yourself. We all make mistakes, it’s part of being human.
Goodnight for now,
PS. You can access more relationship insights and tools, including my new Merchantcircle newsletter at: How To Be A Better Couple
PSS. You can also see my latest “Relationship Tip of the Week” videos on my YouTube channel: Susan Lager At YouTube
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