Mistakes and problems have much in common. One (mistakes) will very often cause the other (problems). No one likes either, we complain about problems and we dislike mistakes, so much so that we often refuse to admit making one.
The other thing that mistakes and problems have in common is that less successful people seem to dwell on them. They linger much longer than is required to learn from a problem and sometimes they hang onto a mistake (usually someone else’s) as if it were a treasured heirloom.
Successful people learn from their mistakes. The most successful people learn from the mistakes of others. Successful people see a problem as something to be tackled and overcome. The most successful people see a problem for what it is, an opportunity to come out of a situation better than they went into it.
Some people worry about problems, successful people worry about how to solve them. The most successful people don’t worry….. they know mistakes and problems will happen and they develop plans, in advance, to correct and overcome them.
The most successful people also know this simple fact: you are unlikely to ever fix a mistake you won’t admit was made and you’ll never overcome a problem you refuse to acknowledge exists.
Dale Carnegie said that when we make a mistake we should admit it “quickly and emphatically.” Denying your mistake is another mistake; it makes it hard for others to help you. When we accept our part in a mistake and acknowledge it then others can be more willing to help us fix it.
That means that the first step in fixing a mistake is admitting it. Acknowledge it, be specific, be honest and straightforward. Be brief as well, you’re admitting a mistake not making a speech. There is no need to make the mistake bigger than it is as a show of contrition. Accept your responsibility, apologize if an apology is called for and move on.
Problems for the most part are dealt with “automatically.” You see a problem, something doesn’t work right, you either fix it or get it fixed. You run out of something around the house you go and get more. Most people deal with problems all the time, the little ones we don’t even really call a problem. By the way, if you have a solution it is in fact NOT a real problem.
What are real problems however are the situations that we don’t know how to deal with. Problems may also be something we do know how to deal with but it’s too unpleasant or uncomfortable for us to tackle. So we avoid it.
There are lots of good problem solving strategies to be found on the web but let me offer you the most important one here.
Do not ignore any problem hoping it with go away on it’s own. Do not hope “no one notices” or “no one finds out.” Somebody will notice and somebody will find out. Big problems were once just little problems that were ignored or hidden. Problems do not normally fix themselves. Problems do not magically disappear and they do not typically grow smaller.
Delay and procrastination are the fertilizers that little problems need to grow into big ones. Solve the problem the moment you know how to solve the problem, once you have a solution there is no logical reason to delay.
The most successful people don’t fertilize their problems, they eradicate them! How about you?