If at first you always succeed, don’t bother reading this
Have you had a reaction in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex recently? Not very pleasant, was it? Painful even. It’s the feeling that results from failure and could easily put you off attempting anything difficult in future. In current jargon you could become ‘risk averse’ to ‘pushing the envelope’ and getting out of your ‘comfort zone’.
Counter-intuitively, perhaps, failing at something can actually present an opportunity. An opportunity to learn from your mistakes and succeed next time. But first you have to overcome that reaction in your dorsal anterior cingulate cortex.
You could get drunk or kick the cat!
There is a less destructive, violent, drastic way. Start by internalising the disbelief that you actually failed and do some soul searching. Speak with a confidant. Now work through the mistakes you made and how you will do things differently next time. Finally, look in a mirror and tell yourself to get a grip and move on.
Okay, so much for the wise words, let’s look at practical actions.
It was me what done it
If your mistake affects others, own up to it. Yes, your practice principal may display emotions you’ve not witnessed before because you ordered a year’s supply of left-handed tweed loop posterior pliers instead of two but better they know straight away than finding it out when the invoice arrives. And don’t fudge it. Research published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found: ‘partial confessions made people feel worse than not confessing or fully confessing, a finding corroborated in a laboratory setting as well as in a study assessing people’s everyday confessions. It seems that although partial confessions seem attractive, they come at an emotional cost.’
Put it right
Your practice principal will be less likely to banish you to the naughty step if you suggest a way to correct your mistake and you’ll feel better. For example: “I’ve spoken with our supplier and they’ve said if we return the excess instruments unused with an explanation of what happened, they’ll give us a credit note.”
In a similar vein, when Spike Milligan arrived late for active service in World War Two and the sergeant bawled him out, Spike said: “I’ll fight nights.”
Learn from your mistakes
Learning from your mistakes is important and to do so you need to ask yourself some questions such as:
What was I trying to achieve and was it (in hindsight) too ambitious?
Where did I go wrong?
Did I have the wrong instructions or not understand the instructions I had?
Did I lack the necessary skills and or knowledge to achieve the task?
Keep moving forward
Decide a plan of action that includes getting more practice at the task
or additional training. Your plan may also include extra supervision and
timing the trickier tasks for early in the working day – research published in Neuroimage found that brain volume is greater in the morning.
When you do something well hug your confidant, pull your top over your head and then have them chase you around the practice…!?
Posted by Gemma