How To Learn From Mistakes

Most of us have been taught that mistakes are unfavourable and are something we should make sure to avoid at all times, right? But then how will we ever learn for ourselves?

Sure, we don’t go around looking to make mistakes, but they do happen, are unavoidable, and are simply a part of life’s lessons designed to guide us to our true paths.

So why are mistakes important? When we understand how to learn from mistakes, not only can we then truly know their purpose, but it also allows us to use them to find an optimal outcome. By understanding our mistakes, we also learn to overcome them and even turn them into moments of opportunity that:

  • allow us to see things from a different perspective, which increases leadership qualities
  • display grit and tenacity by being able to own up and face our mistakes
  • stimulate our creative sides by having to find alternative methods that will favor positive outcomes
  • display our virtues to those around us by the way we handle our mistakes
  • provide us with the knowledge gained in learning from our mistakes with the ability to pass on that knowledge and help others

It is not just about learning from our mistakes or being able to overcome them quickly. How we learn from them also displays our values and contributes to the kind of lifestyle we want to have.

How to Learn From Mistakes: Life-Changing Tips

Now we understand the role that mistakes play in our lives, but that doesn’t make the learning or success of overcoming them any easier.

Although we are responsible for our mistakes as well as ensuring that they don’t happen again, we need to remember that the results of our actions don’t only affect us, but those around us too.

By learning from our mistakes, we not only realize our values and morals, but we also gain knowledge to pass on to others as well as allow those involved to have the option of forgiving and moving on too.

For us to be able to successfully and wholly overcome and learn from mistakes, it may be a good idea to first know why we don’t learn from mistakes.

Why we Don’t Learn from Our Mistakes vs Why is Learning from Mistakes Important

“Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.” ~ Unknown

Studies have proven that the reason we don’t learn from our mistakes, in a nutshell, is because of the natural wiring of the brain.

The neurons in the brain that are able to keep memories have significantly increased activity when the result of the venture is successful in comparison to reduced neuron activity after an attempt results in failure. It makes sense that after making a mistake, there isn’t much motivation to want to try it again in fear of a repeated bad experience.

But as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” It is important to address the mistake immediately and overcome it so that we can try again.

In order to learn from mistakes and overcome them, we need to know where to begin. We have put together a step-by-step guide that can be used in helping you get back on track.

6 Tips on How to Learn From Your Mistakes and Move On

Overcoming your mistakes may be easier said than done, but the difference lies in whether you really want to or not.
To be able to overcome mistakes and move on quickly, we have added some tips that will make the process a little easier for you.

How to learn from mistakes - the monk mindset
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  1. Try to find the lesson in your mistake. By approaching the mistake in a positive way, your brain is more likely to respond favourably, which in turn will also help prevent you from making the mistake again.
  2. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Whether you know the cause or not, admitting your mistake allows you to move on and better yourself.
  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself. As said by the Dalai Lama, “Time passes unhindered. When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well.”
  4. You are the only one thinking this much about your mistake.
  5. Establish the next step and how to be at peace.
  6. Remember the lessons and consequences. Accept and take it for what it is and move on.

What Can Be Learned From Mistakes?

It may seem impossible or even laughable to some that there could be any positive outcomes from making a mistake, but when you take that step back from hurt and anger, you will see at least a dozen lessons staring back at you. These are a few examples of lessons that can be learned:

● Gain knowledge of what you did not know
● Helps to define what matters in life and what does not
● Reveals the importance of considering others
● Helps to cement our root values
● Motivates you to become a better person
● Decision-making abilities are refined
● Demonstrates the power of forgiveness
● Encourages self-care and self-worth
● Boosts courage and grit
● Slows us down when travelling too fast

Related Post: How to Solve Problems Effectively 

Can We Fix Our Mistakes?

As important as it is to learn from our mistakes and move on, we also need to consider whether we can fix them or at least try to ease the consequences that they have caused.

If trying to fix it will just make matters worse, then you’re better off just offering any assistance should it be required. But if it can be fixed, these are your best steps to take:

Admit the Mistake

The worst thing you can do after making a mistake is to pretend it never happened and hope it will go away. Whether it is something like forgetting a birthday or accidentally breaking your mother’s china set—own up to it and how it happened.

Accept the Responsibility

It is in our nature to defend our actions whether they were intended or not. Some of us are even more likely to pass the blame onto another person or circumstance. When you own up to the mistake and claim responsibility, it displays your good intentions of resolving the matter instead of trying to get away from it.

Apologize and Atone

The words of apology carry a lot of power, and offering to make up for your mistake makes it nearly impossible to mistake their sincerity. Apart from that, apologies are also of significant importance for the person receiving them, as it then helps them to forgive and move on as well.

Don’t Overdo It

Once you have admitted the mistake, and offered your apologies and a way to make up for it, give the other person time to respond and decide whether they will accept or dismiss.

No one wants to be that person who doesn’t accept an apology, but depending on the effects of the mistake, it’s better to step back and wait for them to come back to you when they are ready.

Keep to Your Word

If your apology and offer to make up for the mistake is accepted, then make sure to carry through with it. It doesn’t matter how long after the fact it has been accepted, but seeing it through to the end will give you both the kind of closure and acceptance needed to overcome and move on.

Examples of Learning From Mistakes

Regardless of what mistake was made, there are always certain ways in which we can go about making amends or learning from them.

Here are a few examples of learning from mistakes:

  • Investigating the source refers to finding out what led to your mistake.
  • Self-examination or reflection is analyzing your emotions or beliefs that may have led you to make the error.
  • Alternative reality is a way of thinking back on the incident and imagining how it could have been different.
  • Accidental success refers to disastrous mistakes that ended up being beneficial to you.
  • Innovative inspiration is the result of having to find alternative ways to have a successful result, which increases creativity.
  • Tenacious focus refers to becoming more resilient and less likely to be demotivated by future failures.
  • An optimistic outlook is the ability to remain positive while dealing with a mistake by adopting the belief that the situation is only temporary.

How To Learn From Your Mistakes

We now know that our mistakes do not define who we are, nor do we have to carry them with us throughout our lives. Being able to take that mistake and own up to it is just the first step in building a better future version of yourself.


Whenever you are in doubt or struggling in overcoming your mistake, there are quotes of inspiration all around us that will get you through it. But until you find yours, here is one that can stay close to your heart:

“My Darling,
You are only human,
And you are allowed to make mistakes.
You are allowed to fall apart sometimes.
You are allowed to hurt and feel pain too much.
You are allowed to ache and get jealous.
Be easy on yourself and let yourself grow.
Let yourself learn.
Let yourself be.
You are only human,
And you are allowed to make mistakes.”

-Nikita Gill

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