How to Learn From Your Mistakes

Everybody makes mistakes, but not everyone learns from those mistakes. The thing is, we all have the ability to turn a mistake into a positive that will help us grow and get better. We can do that when we commit to learning from our mistakes. On the flip side, when we don’t learn from our mistakes and simply repeat the same errors over and over again, we make our life unnecessarily stressful, and we let other people down. 

Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of making a mistake and only apologizing. We think that, by simply feeling sorry about the mistake, we have made up for it. While feeling upset about the mistake is natural and apologizing is a good practice, the important takeaway from a mistake is to find a way to change for the better by learning from your errors.

Here’s how you can start to learn from your mistakes:

  • Own your mistake: It’s almost impossible to learn from a mistake if you don’t admit that you made an error. This is hard to do, but be honest with yourself if you didn’t do something the right way. And if your mistake affected someone else, apologize to that person. 
  • Ask yourself, “What could I do differently next time?”: Instead of simply beating yourself up for this issue, recognize that the kindest thing to do for yourself and others is to use this as an opportunity to think through ways to avoid the mistake. Take time to think about what kinds of specific new actions you will need to take to avoid the mistake in the future. 
  • Have a game plan: Once you’ve thought about what you can do differently next time, come up with a plan about how to handle the situation in the future. Consider writing this plan down in a notebook or stating it out loud to yourself to help prep for the next time a similar situation occurs. 
  • Believe in yourself: Everyone makes mistakes. Being the kind of person who can be honest with yourself and plan for a wiser future makes you worthy of respect. When we learn from our mistakes, we can avoid repeating the same error — and become better over time. 


  1. What do you think is the best way to handle mistakes at work? 
  2. Have you ever made a mistake at work? How did you handle it, and would you handle it differently now?
  3. Have you ever made the same mistake twice?