How to Bounce Back From a Mistake
I spent four weeks on a project for a class, then uploaded the wrong file. By the time I realized my mistake, it was too late. The software only allowed one upload.
Mistakes happen. They make us feel horrible and worry that we’re losing it. After all, how could we be so careless?
As the saying goes, to err is human. My professor understood my mistake, and accepted an e-mailed file of my project. A lot of times, we stress ourselves out over nothing.
But sometimes mistakes aren’t fixed so smoothly, and leave us with real consequences.
When we make a mistake, we need to identify the problem, and work on fixing it. This is not easy. It often means accepting fault and asking others for help.
It can be tempting to blame yourself when you made a mistake, no matter how minor. But don’t be too hard on yourself. Your energy can be better spent on other matters besides dwelling.
Lately, I’ve started tackling problems when a mistake is made. When I make an error, I look at why it could’ve occurred, and put a process in place to prevent it from happening again.
Many mistakes can be prevented by technology. New cars have collision systems that warn you when you’re too close to a car or another object, preventing accidents.
But software can’t help everything. In the case of my project, the software didn’t allow me to cancel the upload and replace it with a new one — a feature other classes had, which would let me immediately fix the problem.
But on my end, I had two files with similar names: one a rough draft, another the finished product. In the future, if I named one FINAL PROJECT TO SUBMIT, there would be no question of which one I should upload.
Making mistakes humbles us. It also teaches us to be more forgiving of others.
Now that you’ve made a mistake, and you understand what it feels like, realize that others are going to make mistakes, too.
I see many people become an expert at something and then kick out the ladder on the way down, refusing to mentor younger people or blowing their top when an error occurs.
There’s a reason they call them “accidents.” They’re not something we do on purpose.
Everyone makes mistakes. When one happens, do what you can to make things right, forgive yourself, and try to move on.