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  • Kim

How to Deal with a Mistake


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I made a big mistake. Not huge, but big.

I left the house with a pot of bean soup simmering on the stove.

I came home to a house full of smoke, a pot with burned-on sludge in it and a choking, coughing cat upstairs.

Oh. My. God.

No fire, no major disasters, but a pretty big mistake.

I’m like everyone else—I hate making mistakes. Especially bone-headed stuff like forgetting to turn the stove off.

However, I’ve developed a technique for dealing with my mistakes. And at times when I do the occasional stupid thing, it helps me to review my . . .

Four Steps To Dealing With A Mistake:

  1. Recognize it

  2. Correct it

  3. Prevent it (from happening again)

  4. GET OVER IT!

They MUST be done in order and you cannot skip any steps.


Big or small mistakes, this system has worked for me many times. The first one is often the biggest, because every human being has a wonderful capacity for self-delusion. Was it a mistake? Probably.

The second one isn’t so bad. Sometimes it’s too late to do it over, but you can certainly make things better. Correct it. This might be where an apology comes in.

Prevent it. Oh, yeah.

Number four is the hardest for me, and I suspect I’m not alone in this. I tend to keep my mistakes around in my head so that I can look at them occasionally and flagellate myself. “You idiot! You should have ...”

It’s not productive at all. As a matter of fact, it’s a mistake to do that.

I’m starting over again on number one.

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