Learning (and Improving) from Rookie Mistakes


As Goethe once reportedly said, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” The only way you can do something, after all, is to begin it. People often talk about beginner’s luck, but they also discuss rookie mistakes. When you’re beginning something, you don’t know the ropes yet and it can be easy to make mistakes. However, you shouldn’t let that stop you. Everyone was a beginner at some point, and as long as you learn from your mistakes, you will still triumph. Here are some tips to help you improve after making one or more rookie errors.

Listen to constructive criticism
The only way to avoid mistakes is to learn from the ones you have already made. If you avoid listening to others’ constructive criticism, you will continue to make the same errors over and over again. Now, that being said, make sure that you are taking these pointers from someone who has your best interests at heart and wants to see you succeed. If you can, try to get your constructive criticism from people who are already doing well in your particular field. For instance, when Magic Johnson first got started playing professional basketball with the Lakers, he made it known that he was willing to accept feedback from fellow great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. One can’t help but think that this friendship most likely influenced his game for the better.

Keep an open mind
In order to succeed in your new realm, you must keep an open mind. It’s so easy to slip into old patterns when we’re not focused on the here and now. And slipping into old patterns is a recipe for making rookie mistakes.

Maintain a sense of humor about yourself
Why so serious? Learn to laugh at your mistakes and move on—as long as you’re not a surgeon! No, but seriously, most of us can afford to make a few mistakes in our chosen professions, as long as we don’t let them get us down. Making errors is a part of life, and humor is a great way to move past them—after we’ve learned the important lessons that they’ve imparted. Even if your mistakes are not funny to you right now, try to find the humor in them. Think about how they’ll make you feel two years—or even five years–down the line, after you’ve grown from them.

Finally, try not to stress so much. Making rookie mistakes is part of being alive—and part of being human. Have faith in yourself and realize that you’ll be an expert before you even know it.