Learn From Your Mistakes

Today is Monday, so this post is on self confidence. 

As you know, optimism is a key component of self confidence.  Several weeks ago, I did a post on The Optimist Creed.  It was a hit.  Several people asked for a copy.  The first post was so well received that I’ve decided to do a series of posts on The Optimist Creed.  This is another in that series. 

If you would like a copy of The Optimist Creed suitable for framing, please send an email to Bud@BudBilanich.com with the words “Optimist Creed” in the subject line.

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself:

·        To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

·        To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

·        To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

·        To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

·        To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

·        To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

·        To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

·        To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

·        To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

·        To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Last week I focused on the sixth point of The Optimist Creed.  Today, I’d like to delve into the seventh point: “Promise yourself to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.”

Let’s begin with a quote from Ann Landers:

“If I were asked to give what I consider to be the single-most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye, and say ‘I will be bigger than you.  You cannot defeat me’.”

I like what Ann Landers has to say here because it is a bit of reality check.  She’s right, trouble – and set backs and failure – are an inevitable part of like.  Self confident people look trouble squarely in the eye and move forward.  They are not cowed by their failures, rather they embrace them and use them to move towards their goals.

If you read this blog somewhat regularly, you probably know that I am a big tennis fan.  The Australian Open, the first major tennis tournament of the year is being played right now.  Over the weekend, I watched two great matches.

James Blake, one of the two best American men tennis players, won a great five set match on Friday night (that’s when I saw it).  He lost the first two sets to Sebastien Grosjean.  Then he won the next three to win the best of five set match.  He was down four games to one in the fourth set, but won in a tie break.  In general, he was gritty.

To put it in terms of The Optimist Creed, James Blake was able to “forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.”  In this case the past was the first two sets of the match. 

Roger Federer, on the other hand, is the best player in the world.  He had a terrible match against Janko Tipsarevic on Saturday afternoon.  He made 64 unforced errors and lost 16 of 21 break points.  If you follow tennis, you know that this is a recipe for losing.

However, Mr. Federer won the match in five sets.  Afterwards he said, “He (Mr. Tipsarevic) was just going for his shots and kept making them.  In the end, I just tried to block out all the chances I missed.”

The Optimist Creed shows up again.  By blocking out “all the chances I missed”, Mr. Federer was able to win the match.

I believe that James Blake and Roger Federer won these matches because of their self confidence, their optimism, and as Ann Landers says, their ability to “look it (trouble) squarely in the eye, and say ‘I will be bigger than you.  You cannot defeat me’.”  By the way, Lleyton Hewitt did the same thing in his five set match against Marcos Baghdatis.  I can’t comment on this one because I didn’t see the match.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful, self confident people realize that mistakes are part of life.  Then learn from their mistakes and they build on this knowledge to create their own success.

By the way, both Mr. Federer and Mr. Blake won again on Sunday. They are now in the quarter finals.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense.  I had decided to close down my other blog: www.CommonSenseGuy.com to concentrate on this one.  However, several people have suggested that I leave it up even if I plan no more posts.  It seems as if they feel that what I’ve written there over the past few years is valuable content and deserves its place in cyber space.  So, I am going to leave up www.CommonSenseGuy.com.  I may even post there every once in a while.  If you enjoyed it, don’t cancel your RSS feed.  This means that if you want a free ebook version of my book 4 Secrets of High Performing Organizations, you can still get it by logging on to www.CommonSenseGuy.com.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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