How To Move On From Mistakes

It’s a part of life – we’re going to make mistakes.

Heck, you probably screwed something up before breakfast today, and no offense. I did too.

In the midst of trying to meet our toughest goals and never-ending deadlines, we all mess up, and that’s fine.

But sometimes, the mistakes we make stick with us, and that’s not fine.

In this post, I’d like to walk through several common scenarios, and explain how to get on, get over it, and be better off because of your inevitable errors.

Why listen to me?

You might first ask, “Hey, who’s this guy, and what does he know about my life?”

Honestly, nothing. We’ve never met.

And furthermore, the web is full of self-proclaimed experts these days. Gurus, masters, and phony teachers.

But, as one of the youngest guest writers here at Pick The Brain, I’ve met and helped a lot of incredible people like you over the years.

I understand how to help people start blogging over at my blog – which is the biggest stress-reliever on the planet (not an actual stat).

And, beyond all this, I just love writing. So there, we’ve got that in common.

So while you don’t have to listen to me, I’d recommend it, as I know a thing or two. Let’s examine life’s mistakes, by group category. We’ll save the toughest group for last.

Family Mistakes

We all offend family members from time to time; it’s usually what makes us grow closer.

Whether it’s wearing the wrong thing to dinner or bringing the wrong people home, home is a cluttered mess made for mistakes. And like I said above, that’s fine. Your family, though they may not say it, probably wants you to be you, and push the limits of what you means.

Now, there are more serious examples. I know people who haven’t spoken to their siblings in years and those who delete every email their dad sends before opening it.

This makes me sad.

Ya know what? In most of these grudge-match scenarios, both parties want the same thing: some understanding and a reconnection. Both both are too stubborn to step out.

In my opinion, there are three awful things you can do among family: lie, steal, and turn your back to a problem. Now, I’m no genius – I hate to say I’ve done all three (though the stealing was just car keys and it ended ok when I got back from Costa Rica).

Avoid these three things at all costs, and instead forfeit smaller losses to not encounter these big ones. If you do have a problem with one of them, I’d advised you seek out professional help.

Corporate Mistakes

Coworkers are also there for a bit of mockery, a bit of pain. Think about The Office. How funny would the office have been if Jim and Dwight never mad mistakes or pulled pranks.

Personally, I think they messed up in order to learn about themselves.

And yet, in your workplace, like mine, there are things that go wrong. Here are some tips:

  1. Avoid conflict – unless you work for an investment bank, ad agency, or other where yelling and belittling actual get your ahead, there’s probably little value in confrontion. Take your anger out at the gym afterwards.
  2. Never write with anger – Emails are permanent, and HR loves them. Don’t write a nasty letter cc your boss. That person probably wants as little conflict as possible, and even if you’re right, you’ll still upset them.
  3. Guard your reputation – Say you do make a mistake, miss a deadline, or make an unintentionally racist comment in a huge meeting (yep, I’ve done this, eek). If you do make such a mistake, apologize swiftly and move on. That worst thing is for an issue to linger and hurt your reputation.

Then there are those coworkers who always love reminding you of your mistakes, your personal flaws. Give it back to them! They’re living in your world, not the other way around. Succumbing to their pressure can have lasting effects on your health. Think about that.

Always remember, even after a slip-up, you’ve done way more good work than bad.

Mistakes With A Competitor

Like coworkers, competitors will get under your skin. And if you mess up, they usually find a way to benefit.

Let’s take sports, for example. You show up hungover, tired, and slow to the basketball court. It’s a playoff game.

The other team is pumped, and you get destroyed in the paint. Each break finds you gasping while both teams whisper about you.

If you mess up a team sport or team event and do lose, learn from it. Everyone knows it’s hard to beat the same team twice, so really make that the case in the future. Come at it 110% next time, and don’t expect to have anything come easy.

Remember, you can still go home to your favorite meal and hopefully someone to comfort you too.

Mistakes With Your Audience

After a major mistake, or a series of small ones, it’s hard to regain an audience. These people might have been on the fence to start with, then up and leave you forever. Let’s look at some examples.

Blogging – Mistakes can be anything from typos to missed deadlines to offensive articles. Try to apologize, give reasons, and make sure your audience feels understood.

Marketing – Mistakes can be not delivering on promises, not meeting your numbers, and again, offending. Site examples of pass success, take the feedback to heart, and push forward.

Video media – If you make videos for people, they can’t all be great, but they can all be original. If you make a crummy one, take a day off and rediscover your creativity, then come back strong.

Audience you create usually love two things: progression and consistency. People want consistent messages at consistent times from those they admire and idolize. And, they want to see you growing. Pitching a certain message one month might work, but that same message the next month could totally flop. Staying in tune with the people who consume your work, through your own YouTube channel, email, snail mail, advertising or whatever is the best option.

Lastly, Mistakes With Friends

I put friends last because mistakes made among friends are definitely the hardest to recover from. Here’s a painful reality:

“Friendships that don’t grow eventually die. The simple solution is to learn more about someone” Tweet this quote!

But, there’s a silver lining here, which is that mistakes made and fights over come actually bring two people closer together. This means that if you do offend someone, break their table (done it), lose their car (done it), or show up three hours late to their wedding (done it), own up to it! Find ways to make this into a positive, something you can laugh about later!

Not that you’d ever try to, but really testing someone’s patience, and sense of humor, is a great way to build a lasting relationship.

Don’t ever let yourself get bogged down with guilt – friends should forgive. And don’t let embarrassments cloud the present, laugh at them and grow stronger.

There are some people who frequently, deliberately act selfishly, and often times they have the most friends! Don’t be that person, but realize you don’t have to be the total opposite end of the spectrum either. It’s your life.

Read this post, then wake up happy

Hopefully, the words above have cleared your head a bit. There are always mistakes we’ve made that we’ll never forget, but try to make your biggest accomplishments a bit more prominent in your mind. Life is short, remember the good. Please remember to post a comment if you can add to this knowledge.

Greg Narayan is the author of Dear Blogger. He just published a post on why to use WordPress, and can be found on .


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.