We are all familiar with the numerous quotes and proverbs on making mistakes and how this should not be seen as failing. As cliché as this may sound, there is an element of truth to this.
Blundering can be frustrating, but you can always learn and grow from your mistakes. It goes without saying that mistakes can only be turned into lessons for those who take the time to understand what they did wrong. Therefore, making mistakes without any self-reflection will not be advantageous for personal development. Fortunately, the art of turning your wrongs into rights is something that can be taught and can be of great value to you as a content creator. After all, an improvement in your skills will lead to an improvement in your content.
In this article, we’ll guide you in the process of how to embrace your mistakes and turn these mistakes into valuable lessons for the future. First, we’ll focus on how you can be open to making mistakes and embrace the errors in your work, followed by tips on how you can learn from these mistakes.
Learn to embrace your mistakes
It may be quite odd to read about how you can embrace your mistakes, but it can be very beneficial to you as a content creator. It is important to be aware of the fact that there is a difference between making mistakes that you can learn from and moments of thoughtlessly piling up multiple errors. With the latter, people are often not aware of the recklessness of these moments. We like to focus on the mistakes that you can learn and benefit from. As mentioned in our Instagram post: If you never make mistakes, question yourself whether you are trying out enough new things and sufficiently engaging in the unfamiliar. If you are open to trying new things in life and thus for making mistakes, try the following tips:
#1 Don’t be too prepared
“Start before you are ready. Don’t prepare, begin!” - Mel Robbins
When creating content, you obviously want to think things through before you start creating. In order to deliver a decent product, it is useful to prepare a plan of action or any other form of preparation. However, people quickly make the mistake of preparing too much. When you overthink your work in the preparation phase to refrain from making mistakes, chances are high that the message of your content will lose its authenticity. Our advice here is to always plan a solid base for your work before you start with the actual production phase but without over-preparing.
For example, think of what you want to bring across to your audience and prepare several guidelines that will assist you in the process. At the same time, ensure that you leave enough space for creative impulsiveness and sudden inspiration. You will notice that this is not a recipe for avoiding mistakes, but this is not necessarily a negative thing. It is important to understand why you made certain mistakes, so you can turn them into lessons that will improve your content creation skills. For instance, if you are a visual content creator that records interviews with people, try deviating from your standard preparation routine. You can realize this by not preparing every interview question in detail, but by deciding for yourself what you want to achieve with the interview and what you want to know from the person you are interviewing. This way, your interview will have a natural and sincere flow to it and will leave room for spontaneity.
#2 Don’t take yourself too seriously
“Once you take yourself too seriously, the art will suffer” - Maynard James Keenan
Our second advice on how to be open to new, educational experiences as a content creator is to not take yourself too seriously. It is good to have a certain level of self-awareness as a content creator, as well as a drive to accomplish the best within your abilities, but don’t push yourself too much.
Many content creators question themselves on a daily base: “Is my work satisfying enough to publish? What if my piece turns out to be a failure? What if the message of my content or my expertise doesn’t come across the way I predicted?” These and other similar questions create a vast amount of doubt for any content creator. So instead, try asking yourself questions like: “Did I enjoy creating this piece of content?”
We understand that sharing content can be very exciting because you can't always predict the response of your audience. Especially when you have a large number of followers, the response of your audience can differ immensely.
However, you should never forget that your audience consists of people like you and me and the people that truly value your work will not disappear into thin air if you post a less successful piece of content. By not taking yourself too seriously and not constantly trying to predict how you come across in your content, you will experience more joy in the creative process. In addition to this, you will notice that you are more open to making mistakes and seeing things from a different perspective.
#3 Don’t fear imperfection
“There is a kind of beauty in imperfection” - Conrad Hall
Recently, we had the privilege of meeting someone who works as a concept developer on how to creatively design public spaces to stimulate interaction between people. This person mentioned that he used to be extremely perfectionistic in his work, which eventually held him back from further development. He thought of a unique way to get rid of his perfectionism and embrace the imperfections in his work. He created an Instagram account which he solely uses to post the raw sketches of his designs. By consistently posting the unfinished designs which he didn’t yet completely think through, he deliberately chose to embrace the imperfections in his work. He indicated that this provided him with more confidence and more space for creativeness and inspirational ideas that he would normally not have. This is because he received feedback, comments, and suggestions from the people that followed his Instagram account and looked at his unfinished designs. In some cases, this feedback nudged him in the right direction or gave him inspiration which triggered new ideas.
We don’t ask you to follow the exact same procedure, but we do encourage you to experiment with this in your own way. For example, when you have two content pieces and you are doubting on which one you should use, try going for the piece that you are least enthusiastic about. When doing so, analyze how your audience reacts to it and learn from the response of your followers. At the end of the day, imperfections remain subjective and based on personal perception rather than facts. What you consider to be an imperfection in your work, might be positively perceived by your audience.
How can you learn from your mistakes?
If you effectively want to learn from your mistakes, it is important to learn how you can constructively do so. Learning how to use your mistakes to your advantage is a timely process and takes some practice. Brandon Stanton, the founder of ‘Humans of New York’, mentioned in an interview once that when he started with photography, he snapped a large number of pictures whenever he wanted to photograph someone. The reason he did this, is because he wasn't very experienced and wanted to experiment and learn how to take a great shot.
Interesting about this story is that by endlessly experimenting, Brandon Stanton eventually learned how to learn from his mistakes and developed his own technique for success. This process, including all the trials and mistakes, unknowingly served as the photography course that Brandon Stanton never had, while at the same time his platform grew in size.
Currently, his platform has more than 18 million followers. Imagine what would have happened if he was too insecure to start executing his ideas. This is a great example of what you can achieve when you turn your mistakes into lessons. Therefore we have listed a few tips that will help you to learn from your mistakes.
#1 Accept your mistakes
It may sound cliché, but if you want to learn from your mistakes, you need to accept them. If you're continuously questioning why you've made a certain mistake and keep beating yourself up about it, you are preventing future improvement.
Accept your mistakes by realizing that it's only human to make them in the first place. In addition to this, as you might have learned by now, making mistakes contributes to your personal development.
#2 Don’t focus on the way you are pointed out on your mistakes
We all know that annoying feeling when you are pointed out on your mistakes by someone else. Some people immediately take on a defensive attitude or respond by pointing out the other one’s mistakes.
It can be challenging, but try to concentrate on the message instead, rather than how it is communicated. This way you can focus on analyzing the mistake and figure out what exactly went wrong.
#3 Unravel your mistakes
Take your time to unravel and analyze your mistakes. We do not mean that you should worry about your mistakes for hours and hours, but to look at your mistakes in a light-hearted way and analyze how the mistake came to be. When doing so, try answering the following questions:
- Why did I do what I did?
- What's the most important cause of this mistake?
- To what degree is it my mistake?
- What am I going to do differently in the future?
#4 Ask experts for advice
Once you have gathered the answers to the questions listed in tip #3, you can ask for advice from others. Do not just ask anyone for advice, but think well about who you are going to ask.
Clearly, anyone can give you advice, but not every piece of advice might be useful to you. As taken from the book ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’: “Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you only take what is worth having.” Make sure to ask advice from someone with expertise regarding your mistake. For example, if you want to know why the response on your last piece of content did not meet your expectations, try asking one of your followers for advice or someone who also works as a content creator.
#5 Get over it and stay positive
As mentioned earlier in this article: “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” You made a mistake and you learned from it. Don't try to dwell on it for too long. Self-reflect and stay positive.
With this in mind, you can continue doing what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at. You are ready to apply your newly learned lessons in your work. Which is exactly what is meant by turning your wrongs into rights. After all, “our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts.” - George Clason.
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