You’ve probably heard about the benefits of banning the word “can’t” from your life and why more optimistic thinking starts with the little things, like the words you use.
Mistakes don't mean you can't do something, it means you can find another way to do it. And while you certainly should get used to ditching dead-end phrasing from the language you use with yourself and others, you can take this same principle even deeper:
The art of reframing
What's your attitude toward constraints and setbacks in general?
Thomas Edison is famous for explaining how he discovered many, many ways not to make a light bulb. The way you frame events that are unexpected, not as planned or completely crappy makes a huge difference on what you do next.
Lets say you mess up bad and sign off on a batch of products that are all damaged in some way. You’ve wasted money and time and now have extra work to do to start over again. Several customers have already gotten hold of your awful product…
What are you going to do now?
If you look at a situation and label it hopeless right from the start, you shut down any creative instinct to look for a solution. You may only officially give up much later, but the defeat came the moment you called it a mistake.
Instead, get into the habit of looking and only seeing what really, truly is there. No positive thinking required: just be curious about what happened and why. The “mistake” above yields valuable information about exactly where your process needs to be improved.
It also opens up new opportunities: By quickly taking the chance to get in touch personally with those people affected, you establish a trusting, working partnership and get the chance to show them exactly what your company’s policies and vision look like in practice.
This intense “fix up” could win you more loyalty than a deliberate marketing campaign that might have cost much more. Saying the whole thing was a mistake hides all these possibilities.
Train yourself not to look at things and pronounce them a failure, but keep open minded and ask, “In what ways is this thing successful?”
Have you recently messed up?
In what ways is the the thing you did kind of useful?
Do you have any more tips that might be helpful? If you liked this article, feel free to share it on social media so someone you know might benefit from it.
What You Can Do
The founder of Combat Mindset, Michael Saad, is a straight-forward and easy to follow Results Coach that helps athletes, fighters and tactical operators get mentally and physically stronger.