Today I was going to write about something else, but I made a mistake. And in that moment, suddenly all plans, strategies and positive ideas disappeared in a moment of panic. So, I thought that it would be good to share with you how I handled it, in the hope that it will help you too. A large part of Self Mastery is in being able to control your responses and choose how you want to be, not just how people and situations may dictate to you.
How to handle mistakes
- Realise that you are in a special moment
Your cheeks flush red, you drop your head, you feel a rising sense of panic like you are expecting people to jump out of nowhere and exposure your mistake. Recognise this and know that it will pass. Your body is just on high alert.
- Take 5 very deep breaths
Breath in for a count of 5-10 and out for a count of 5-10. Repeat this 2-3 times, until you feel your pulse begin to slow and the panic beginning to fade. This can take up to five minutes. Be patient.
- Immediately talk to yourself as you would to your best friend or a close loved one.
At this moment, you are in a heighten state, full of emotion. What you do next will be remembered strongly, so now is not a moment for you to beat yourself up, to insult yourself, to think negative thoughts and feel sorry for yourself. All this will do is make you lose perspective on what has just happened and you may begin to construct a false negative narrative about this meaning you are having a bad day etc.
- Listen to, look at, absorb something positive
This could be a song that you love, thinking about a good memory, watching a favourite video on Youtube, anything that you like. The important thing is to show kindness to yourself in this special moment.
This is the most important thing that you can do when you have failed at something and/or made mistakes. Once you are calm enough to think clearly, without strong negative emotion, take five minutes to properly think through what happened. Did you do too much of something? Too little? Where you out of balance? Late? Unprepared? Find the answer and resolve to use it as soon as possible. Write down what you have learned and look at it often. For example, I once got on the wrong train back from a music gig in Manchester, as I didn’t look at the destination on the front of the train. I only made that mistake once! Do the same with your mistake. Vow to not repeat it, to use it as a learning experience.
Once you can do this a few times, you will begin to see that all moments and experiences, good or bad, can be treated as such. And you can use all of them to your advantage. For example, me making my mistake today, caused me to use these strategies, feel better and want to create this post to try and help you in your life. And so, you begin, slowly, to become a force, something bigger than your mistakes, something which cannot be stopped so easily…
Make mistakes and learn!