It happens to all of us. You are trotting along doing your thing (blogging, work, school,relationships, whatever). Everything is going fine. Actually, everything is going great. Then, something happens and changes everything: you make a big, stupid mistake.
You probably didn’t mean to. You were just so set in your routine; your groove. You have the way you do things down to an art. So when you make your stupid mistake, it is a total surprise and shock to your system.
“Ignorance is optional. Stupidity is not.” – Sam Bell
Here’s my take on Ignorance vs Stupidity:
Ignorance is something you choose to know or not know. Or it is something you are aware you do not know. But it is something you can remedy. Like learning to change a tire. You may decide that you absolutely must know how to change a tire in order to protect yourself and save time and money waiting for others. Or you instead choose to sign up for AAA and not spend time or brain power on learning a skill you can hire some else to do.
Stupidity is something inherent which one is unable to prevent. There is an opportunity, however, to learn from one’s stupidity and not make the same mistake twice.
In my way of thinking, an example of stupidity is going through your routine too fast and making a mistake doing something that could have absolutely been avoided. The stupidity comes in when it never occurred to you to take precautions for this now obviously avoidable mistake.
It is the stupid mistake that will make you stop and look at your methods. Suddenly, you will see the stupidity in your actions and can create the processes and work flow necessary to prevent such stupidity in the future.
I think we are all stupid at times. I know I am. I also think stupidity is an important tool for growth on our journey towards brilliance. Through stupidity, we often learn humility as well as how not to do something. It just happens to be a more painful (and unfortunate) way to learn.
It is absolutely no fun to make stupid mistakes and trying to avoid them entirely is literally impossible. Since stupid mistakes are inevitable, here are 4 steps to overcoming the after math of making a hugely stupid mistake.
How to “keep on keepin’ on” after royally screwing up
- Don’t beat yourself up. If you lived through it, then you’ll be okay. Try not to be too hard on yourself.
For those who don’t know me, I am very much a perfectionist. While I am pretty flexible with others, I tend to be way too hard on myself when I screw up. We are all a work in progress and I’m working to be more compassionate with myself. From experience, I can tell you that beating yourself up solves nothing. When you are being hard on yourself, you can’t think straight. Before you do anything to resolve your mistake, take a major step back, relax, and stop abusing yourself.
- Acknowledge your mistake.
Guess what. You’re human. You’re gonna screw up. It can be humiliating, frustrating, devastating, or totally minor. Whatever the magnitude, it’s going to happen. Stupid mistakes are usually extremely preventable — that’s why they are so painful to experience. Once it’s done, acknowledge how this stupidity could have been prevented and get serious about not doing it again. Take note of the signs.
Making a stupid mistake once is human. Making it over and over again is insanity. Try not to be insane.
- Accept what is done.
There is no erasing the past. The only thing you have control over is right this moment. Accept this mistake as a tool, a lesson, an experience, just a fleeting moment in your lifetime. Sometimes moments can feel unbearable.Think back to a time when you experienced extraordinary pain or failure. A time when you thought you could not recover. Well, if you are reading this, you have clearly recovered enough to be here and be interested enough to keep growing. This time will be no different. Accept this place as exactly where you are supposed to be. Moments of pain from a stupid mistake could be the next huge leap in your personal development. This moment is for you to help you grow and know you are alive. Be easy and accept what has occurred.
- Move on.
Learning to move on from our mistakes is key in “getting back on the horse.” It is those moments when you want to totally quit or run that you are most likely supposed to be staying and standing your ground. When your chest gets tight, that’s could be a sign that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. (I guess it could also be a heart attack… Hopefully you know the difference.)Don’t back down. Face your fears and your mistakes, and move on.
Americans feast on others mistakes. I think it’s disgusting. When I stand in the grocery lines, I am nauseated by the endless tabloids and magazines spewing headlines about people’s mistakes and misfortunes.
If you are experiencing such a misfortune, think about the stuff I wrote above and be glad you are not on the cover of a tabloid.
If you are on the cover of a tabloid, keep your head up and don’t give into the mechanism that causes people to feast on your pain. You’ll be okay.
Finally, if you purchase these tabloids, give a rest. You are filling your head with negative crap that is influencing your life. I’d be willing to bet that your life is pretty dramatic and stressful if you are dwelling on the misfortunes of others.
Great advice from my best friend
The other day, I made a pretty stupid mistake and I was having a hard time dealing with it at first. Here are a few words of advice my best friend gave me that made all the difference.
Does Bret Favre quit just because he throws an interception… no.
Does Willie Nelson stop song because he forgot the words to a song… no.
Does Donald Trump quit real estate because of poor decisions that caused him to go bankrupt… no.
When it comes to life’s mistakes, be gentle with others but most importantly, be gentle with yourself. …And get back on the horse!
What fear have you faced and overcome after royally screwing up?