Everyone messes up sometimes. In fact several of us mess up quite often, myself included
I’ve screwed up not once, but twice
Okay, so I’m going to say this first; I’m nowhere near perfect. In the past few years alone, I have made the same mistake at least 2 or 3 times. It wasn’t a tiny mistake either, more like one that could’ve placed me in a terrible situation if I hadn’t corrected it. The fact that I’ve made several mistakes and have gone on to not
only correct them but to also grow and come back even better than before is a testament to the power that we all hold. Mistakes are and can be temporary things, if they get noticed and dealt with. My mistakes have allowed me to develop a few ways to avoid the repetition of and to affirm that you wouldn’t make the mistake again.
Ways to make the affirmation
As mentioned earlier, I have made several mistakes which could’ve dealt a tremendous blow to both my possibility of having financial freedom in the future and possibly having a future at all. These mistakes have taught me a few things that have helped me to avoid making them again in the future. And I’m here today to share them with you with the hopes that someone may gain from them.
Document every single mistake
I learned very quickly that our brains have a habit of forgetting and warping our memories. As time goes by we lose the edge that the mistake gave us and start to rethink the feelings directed toward the particular mistake. One of the biggest reasons that I continued to make the mistake was that I would always forget or lose care for the fa
ct that the mistake dealt a significant blow to my well-being in the past. Once I realized this, I began to document everything, what I did wrong, right, etc. Documenting things allows me to remember what is going on and with review, to remember the effects that the mistake had on my well being.
Understand what it is that caused the mistake
Sometimes the hardest thing about making mistakes is finding what it is that is triggering it in the first place. With review of the mistake (something that I often do in my trades) and your state at the time of the mistake, you are able to find exactly what it is that you did wrong and what it is that you need to cut out. This is why it’s important to jot down the mistake in it’s entirety when you document it.
For instance, when I document my mistakes I write down every single thing that I did during and leading up to the mistake. I write down how I was feeling the day that the mistake was made and what making the mistake required me to do. After doing this, I leave the document alone for a bit. I go do other work and, while I’m doing the work, allow my brain to wander a bit. During the wandering, I break down the mistake and what it is that possibly contributed to the mistake. (my brain does this automatically, it’s actually kind of a pain) It becomes much easier to not repeat a mistake once you realize what it is that is contributing to the mistake in the first place.
Cut out whatever is contributing to the mistake
After pin-pointing what it is that is causing the mistake, your next job would be to cut it. I say this because for me, the things that were causing the mistake were somewhat internalized in me. My mistakes were being repeated not solely because of the external influences but because of a lack of control internally. I didn’t want to deal with the stress of navigating my outside environment and, chose not to. For others, it may be different.
Things that can contribute to the repetition of a mistake could be as basic as;
- People (friend, family etc.)
- Lack of self-control
- Lack of reflection
- Just to name a few
Catch yourself in the act
Now that you’ve noticed what is causing the mistake, it is time to catch yourself in the act. Catching yourself in the act of making a mistake can allow for a pivot point necessary for correcting yourself. Once you’ve caught yourself in the act of making a mistake, you can implement the practice of a new behavior. One that is completely contradictory to that of the mistake. This isn’t the easies
t thing to do because of the insight that is required for it to be completed, but I’ve done it so I know that you can too.
Remember, practice makes habit
Changing a behavior/habit, that contributes to a mistake is a practice. You don’t fix something once and then leave it. As I mentioned earlier, our brains like to smooth over the edges of our memories; they also like to slide back into the places that they are comfortable in. This applies to new behaviors as well. To affirm that we won’t make the mistake again we must do one thing; we must treat the new behavior like a habit, one that must be practiced day in and day out until it is internalized. And even after this is done, we must continue to review our behavior and mistakes to avoid slippage.
Always focus on improvement
Find a freaking mentor
. This is where finding a mentor comes into play. Finding someone who has been where you are and are now where you want to be, and emulating them will help give you that push out of the downward spiral that the mistakes that you continue to make has placed you in.
Don’t ever beat yourself up over a mistake, ever
. I read in a book called “The psychology of Trading” by Brett Steenburger that this self-abuse only acts as an enabler, giving us reason to make the mistakes over an over again. To combat this, I’ve found that it is much simpler to accept that you made the mistake and find ways to avoid making them again. We don’t have to get angry at ourselves, beat ourselves up, or do anything of the sort. All that we have to do is; accept, avoid, and move on.
See it as a setback and continue to press forward
Mistakes happen, they’re simply a part of being human. The repetition of mistakes may hurt, but that doesn’t change the fact that they happen, and we have to accept them. Life is full of twists and turns, peaks and troughs; the key isn’t to focus on these individual points in life. The key is to focus on the end goal and the process. When I realized that I was making the same mistake over and over again, I initially started to feel pretty stupid. Once I figured out that my life was in my control all I had to do to avoid making those mistakes was to critique myself on a regular basis.
Here is a handy little infographic that I made for those who want this information in a simplified format.