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The Biggest Mistake Of All Time (and how to fix it)

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A huge flaw in human nature is our somewhat instinctive reaction to defend ourselves (even when we’re completely wrong). When we do something incorrect either at work or in our personal lives – it can be incredibly difficult to admit our faults or silly mistakes. There are definitely those who are able to accept responsibility and own up to slip ups, and there are others that refuse to let down – or see the other side of the coin. The latter folks are the intolerable people in our lives who can’t seem to step out of their own stubbornness to view things from a different perspective. How do I know so much about this type of person? I used to be one.

Self awareness is one of the most valuable attributes that an individual can ever adapt. Being able to step outside of a situation, and evaluate it from another’s perspective can be a turning point in personal success. Think about it: when someone apologizes or shows a little humility (rather than a rigid backbone and an inability to compromise), we immediately start to respect them a little bit more. After all, it takes a lot more confidence and conviction to admit a misstep, than to be cowardly and hide behind wrong doings.

Because it can be difficult at times to swallow your pride, here are a few tips to help you when you need to hide your tail in-between your hind legs:

  • Put yourself in their shoes: Think about it – how would you really feel if the situation were reversed? What would your reaction be, and what would make things better?
  • Be understanding: Know that your mistakes often have more impact than you think. There’s usually a chain reaction to things, so owning up early stops a vicious cycle.
  • Take responsibility: There’s plenty of times that I’ve screwed up because of things I’ve done, and sometimes at the fault of others. The thing is: it doesn’t matter now – the mistake is made. Own up, and you’ll earn more respect from the recipient of the news.
  • Accept your consequences: This can really suck, but consequences don’t last forever. Take the right actions to correct what you can, and practice damage control. Do everything in your power to help diffuse the impact of your actions.  Be prepared to embrace whatever comes your way as a result of the mistakes you’ve made.
  • Own the disruption: Taking responsibility means being prepared to fix the problem: which means you need a master plan. Be sure to put some real thought into how you can help mend any of the problems you’ve caused.
  • Be sincere: This speaks for itself. Hopefully you can look inside yourself, and rid yourself of any unnecessary bravado. We’re human, we all screw up sometimes.
  • Apologize: Really. And don’t half-ass it. Mean it.

The reality is, we all have moments we aren’t proud of – even times of complete stupidity. Be the bigger person, stand up, and move on. The faster you jump to correct mistakes, the better you’ll feel, and the more trust you’ll gain. Humility is not always innate, but it’s a skill everyone should definitely learn.

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