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A Gift: Learning from Mistakes and Past Experiences

Due to the nature of being human, we all make mistakes. The point is not to repeat them though most of us tend to do so. Making mistakes feels bad, and this feeling can be irritating. However, here is good news: they are necessary for our brain’s learning mechanism. Making mistakes is a base for “trial and error”. In time, trial and error circle turns into learning from mistakes.

That said, making mistakes equals having experienced that action or event. That’s it has a huge impact on our learning ability. When we say or do something we should not, when we make a very bad decision, or even when we perform something poorly, we make mistakes and develop a past experience. After some time, we see the consequences and try not to repeat that action. Mission of learning from past experiences is completed. What we try to explain in this blog post is how to learn from mistakes and experiences, and we try to make a point of doing so. Reading further, you can see how the human brain copes with error and how to train ourselves not to repeat our mistakes.

What Is Our Brain Doing to Cope with Error?

As most of us know, our brain’s fuel is electricity. Brain cells talk to each other using this energy. It is possible to see what is going on with this electricity by the EEG method. This method contains a cap with some special sensors to measure the electricity moving in the human brain. When we make a mistake, signals show that our brain can understand it seconds before we do. Scientists know this by looking at our pattern of brain activity. Because in the event of an error, a negative electrical activity occurs at the top of the head, which is called error-related negativity. When the related part of our brain perceives this signal, an alert is sent to other parts through connections. This alert is for us to focus and not make that mistake again. Briefly, our brain is there to save our life again. The answer to what is learning from the past, might be explained via brain activity. Learning from past is what our brain teaches us by sending alert signals to have our attention to the mistake.

What Can We Do Not to Repeat Our Mistakes?

We learn from our mistakes, that’s for sure! However, what can we do not to repeat those mistakes? The answer is both simple and a bit challenging at the same time. Because if you want to train yourself to prevent from making mistakes, this means a lot of work. Below is a list of what you can do to learn from your past experiences that are called mistakes.

  • Aware of the Error: Being aware is also a very important part of self-realization in human psychology. It is said that when someone acknowledges their traumas and bad habits, it is easier for them to get rid of the negativity. Since learning activity can be counted as a part of psychology, we can clearly say that people can reduce the possibility of repeating the mistake by accepting it. When you believe that you have made a mistake, stand up and apologize. Saying that you’re sorry is a very good way to acknowledge your mistakes as it shows the person in front of you that you are regretful and won’t double the action.
  • Keep a Journal: Once you confess your mistake, you know that you are wrong from deep inside. That means you do not want to repeat the mistake. Keeping a journal can help you prove it. There will be the bad experiences and the decisions you’ve made in that journal. Every time you have to make up your mind, you encounter your past choices and prevent yourself from making those mistakes again. The journal you will keep should include the situation, the variables, the people, alternatives considered, why you chose that alternative, the potential result of choosing the other option, the day, and your mental situation (emotional state). These will help you see the big picture and keep you away from the risks.
  • Turn Crisis into Opportunity: This is the key step to learn from mistakes. You have to gain the ability to see mistakes as opportunities to learn. Because they are so, indeed. Try to see the full side of the glass! Your past experience shows you where to stop and where to take action. This thing is invaluable.
  • Tell Others What You Learn: One of the best ways of learning something is by teaching it. And teaching consists of communication. When you tell people around you that you learned XXX topic, you prove to yourself that you know it. The point here is not to mention the mistake part. Positive talks bring positivity. Try to stay away from error parts and tell others about your learning journey.
  • Listen to Others: Listening is as important as speaking. When you listen to others you open yourself to feedback. That means you open yourself to a different perspective, benefit from others’ wisdom, and eventually eager to improve.