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How Not to Compound a Mistake

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After failing to recognize and admit a mistake you've made, and then failing to try to correct that mistake, you're in big trouble.

If you've never fallen into that trap, you probably don't need to continue reading this piece.

On the other hand, if you have ever erred in that way, you may want to recall what happened and what you might have done differently and better. For example:

When a husband gets up in the middle of the night to pee and forgets to put the toilet seat up (and back down) and then goes right back to sleep, but then wakes again and remembers, what should he do?

Basically, he has two choices: get up and put the seat down, or wake the wife and warn her that it's up. If he gets up again and puts the seat back down, the issue goes away, but if he later tells his wife what he did, she will likely ask with annoyance, "Why are you bothering to tell me that?"

On the other hand, if he simply wakes her to warn her that it's still up, he might think it okay to claim credit for looking out for her welfare. However she is likely to complain that he ruined her sleep, whether or not she needed to pee.

So what is there to learn from this little parable?

Never, never forget to put the seat up and then down -- read in whatever your example of a mistake might be. (Avoid a mistake in the first place if you can.)

If you fail to put the seat down before your wife discovers your mistake (or whatever you forgot in your example) beware the consequences. (There are consequences to not correcting a mistake.)

If you forget or fail to put the seat down (whatever it was you should have done) do not for a minute think any warning will suffice, and be careful of trying to claim credit for good intentions. Remember, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. (After-the-fact warnings of your uncorrected mistake rarely help.)

You already no doubt can see how you can probably fit almost any mistake of yours into the paradigm of this little fable and draw some wisdom.

Remember also that good judgment is based on experience because experience is based on bad judgment.

Mistakes are essential to your growth in life, if you recognize them and correct them. Do not fear them -- you need them.

Happy Landings!

For more by Frank A. Weil, click here.

For more on emotional intelligence, click here.

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