40+FAB Blog

The patterns of mistakes

There is no one under the sun who has not made a mistake at one point in thier existence. Mistakes are unpleasant when they occur because they result in outcomes that were not desired or expected.

One thing I realised about mistakes is that they are repeatable, and most times if conscious corrective action is not taken, we are likely to fall into a pattern that leads us to make the same type of mistake over and over again.

I have been in a situation more than once where I have accepted to work at a job that was way below my earning potential, and this was not for lack of a better paying job. As I looked back to understand why, I uncovered a pattern of how I felt and what my rationale was for taking those jobs.

The first time I made this mistake was after I went for an interview and the person that spoke with me, who happened to be very well respected in a very reputable organisation, questioned my competence as a graduate. After the interview, I felt diminished and wondered if I would ever have a decent career, so, when someone recommended me for a really low paying job, I jumped at the opportunity because at that moment, I saw it as my only hope.

It was a mistake to let one persons opinion ruin my outlook for a positive future. The pattern of people or situations knocking my self confidence showed me that it caused me to make a similar mistake later. But, when I identified the patterns that led to my mistakes, I employed strategies to mitigate them. As at today, I have worked at some world class organisations that would make mouths of any recruiters water when they see my CV.

Can you identify the patterns that lead to your mistakes? It is important to do so, because each time you allow the pattern to repeat itself, the magnitude of the mistake somehow grows bigger. We are creatures of habit, but the good news is that we can choose to break old habits and form new ones. Identifying the patterns of our mistakes is an important step in dealing with them for good.