Learning from our mistakes

No one is perfect, always remember this.

I could spend hours telling you stories of all of the mistakes that i’ve made during my training journey since the age of 15. I still look back and cringe at some of the errors that i’ve made during my 8 year period of being a Personal Trainer.

However not reflecting on that too much, the important factor is that I have realised and learned from these errors and these have helped shaped me into the trainer I am today.

An abstract from a journal titled “Mistakes – how can we learn from them?” gives the following interesting conclusions.


– The paper presents examples where mistakes are not necessarily mistakes, but simply opportunities to improve or amend the project. Also lists questions to help in the understanding of mistakes, why it occurred, how it was dealt with and feelings regarding the situation.


– Blaming ourselves, or blaming others, does not encourage us. In fact, it is anti‐learning. If we, or our department, or our organization
has made a mistake then we might as well get what we can out of it – the learning. Gaining learning from our mistakes takes us away from a culture of cover ups and denial.


– Humans make mistakes all the time and the key lesson is how we can be more learning‐focused after discovering a mistake. (ref1)

So how can we relate this to our training goals?

Use every opportunity to learn from any situation, positive or negative. For example if you’ve been trying to lose weight via the same method and not seeing any results then its highly likely you’re not willing to investigate the reasons why. This also highlights potential issues of denial as well as blaming unlikely sources for your own errors.
The key is to consider other methods rather than trying the same old method. There’s an increased chance that if it didn’t work the first few times then its highly unlikely that it’s not going to work the next time around.

On the flip side we can also learn from positive situations during your training journey.

For example, Jane has seen improvements in her squat by stretching regularly.

Therefore its imperative that Jane maintains this routine as she knows the benefits it brings to her training performance.

I know from my own personal experience that I’ve let positive lifestyle habits suffer of late. My sleep patterns can always improve if I choose to learn from the times that I do manage to get to bed earlier and feel the benefits the next day!

To conclude today’s blog I would encourage you not to fear making mistakes. Admittedly it’s not a great feeling when the realisation kicks in that there has been an error of judgment however wisdom (Cicero to Gandhi,) tells us that we should honour our mistakes, that they can lead us to great learning. (Ref2)

Hopefully the following famous quotes will help you along the way.

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself” Eleanor Roosevelt

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”
Albert Einstein

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” Steve Jobs


1) Mistakes – how can we learn from them? Author(s): Graham
Dawes (Director of the Centre for Self‐Managed Learning, Hove, UK)

2) Learning from Our Mistakes: International Educators Reflect David
Shallenberger School for International Training



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