Why a gentleman shouldn’t fear making mistakes

From inspiring others to learning yourself, this is why a misstep now and then isn't the end of the world

If you ask any successful person about how they got to where they are today, the response will most likely be that it was a case of “two steps forward, one step back”.

In a world increasingly obsessed with perfection and with so much at stake in everything we do, avoiding mistakes seems paramount. Whether it’s at work, in social situations or even using gym equipment, we all fear the consequences of getting it wrong. There simply isn’t time to slip up too often.

However, too much time spent worrying about what may go wrong is not only going to have a negative effect on your health, but it will impact your ability to focus on what you can do to make things move in the right direction. Whilst repeating your worst mistakes isn’t something we recommend, accepting that they are all a part of life’s journey is going to improve your chances of success far more than letting your lack of perfection get you down.

It’s easy to be hyper-critical of ourselves. Assuming that failing a task at your first attempt is a sign that you are simply incapable is hardly a good way to go through life. Re-assess, re-try, and don’t let your mistakes chip away at your confidence.

“Well, you won’t do that again” might seem like one of the least comforting things anyone can say to you following a costly slip-up, but such condescension does have a valid point. It might be hard, but seeing your mistakes as an opportunity to learn is a pretty reliable recipe for improvement.

If the path to success always ran in a smooth and straight line, where would you find your motivation? Mistakes make things far more exciting, and part of making them is finding – and maintaining – the determination to prove what you are capable of.

Trying again isn’t just about doing the same thing at a different time. Not only are you likely to accomplish what you set out to do in a more competent and efficient way than you might have done the first time around, but rectifying your mistakes to do so will make you really appreciate the work you have put in. 

It goes without saying that another man’s success can be a major source of motivation. However, what is even more inspiring is knowing the mistakes these men have made and how they have recovered from these to achieve their goals (big of small).

You might have heard that ‘everyone makes mistakes’ many a time without really dwelling on its significance. Not fearing your own mistakes will make you far more empathetic towards the ones that others make. The way that you respond to others’ mistakes, or that they respond to yours, is vital. Forgive and forget when appropriate, gents.

Mistakes are inevitably going to happen. The sooner you stop dwelling on those you have made, or even those that you could make, the better.

Gentlemen's Journal is happy to partner with The Prince’s Trust RISE campaign, which is working to create a network of young adults aged between 21-45, who are passionate about social mobility. You can become a Prince’s Trust Riser by donating just £20 per month to the scheme.
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