Learning Through Mistakes

We are all experiential learners. Do you remember learning to walk? We started by learning to crawl first (usually). As we shift from crawling to standing upright with support, to gradually hobbling and walking, we fall down quite a bit. Most babies experience a lot of crying and frustration as we seek uprightness. Mistakes and misjudgments in balance are how we find our feet and align our spine. 

When mistakes are allowed, the environment becomes supportive and friendly. I once had a ballroom dance teacher in college who called mistakes creative moments. He would sincerely celebrate when someone stepped out of rhythm or messed up their dance steps. This way there was no shame in the learning process for everyone. Matt Fisher is my current guitar teacher. He is so profoundly accepting of mistakes. It makes the learning process infinitely more fun and easy. I highly recommend his lessons online for anyone learning to play guitar or sing.

When parents let their children make mistakes without blaming them, the family becomes a safe place for learning. When leaders in a company allow their employees to make mistakes without judging them, the work environment becomes a safe place for evolution. Anytime we want more safety, we can bring more acceptance into the learning process for ourselves and the ones we are with. By letting learning run its course, we get out of the way and thus catalyze the process. This is simple but infinitely profound in its implications. 


Making Mistakes Is Okay; Unconditional Love Is the Way

Where you are is okay. It is simply where you are. In physical reality you are in the city, town, or country that you are in or maybe you’re on a boat, plane, car, or train in between places. Wherever you physically are, that’s where you are. If you adopt the attitude that it’s the right place for now, you can also freely move wherever you want to be. Psychological reality is no different. We are where we are with our feelings, thoughts, and attitude. We can not be anywhere, but where we are right now. If we want to make a shift, that’s possible; but we must do it through accepting ourselves. 

When we force ourselves out of the state we are in, our world is full of judgment. This narrow way of living limits our potential and blocks the flow of life. When we are not afraid of making mistakes, it fosters a culture where everyone is comfortable. This is how we catalyze learning in whatever community we should find ourselves in. We treasure and honor mistakes; we celebrate the creative process of unfolding ourselves.


Allowing for Mistakes from our Clients

We work with clients with developmental disabilities. Our clients will make mistakes. They may act on their emotions in a way that hurts others. They may misread social interactions or simply not perform a task in an ideal manner. They may hit their parents or peers. All these situations must first be embraced to be most successfully addressed. They are where they are. We must accept them as they are to have the best results toward helping them get to a better place.


Allowing for Mistakes in our Consulting

As we consult with families, there are times when our advice isn’t the best advice for a situation. There may be something that we are not aware of or we may be having our own reaction to what is going on in the family dynamic. When we accept our mistakes and learn from them, we can more easily correct them and evolve ourselves through our experience. The important thing is that we are empathic and supportive of the family. Being right or correct is less important. It’s more important that we help the family discover the best way through the situation. As we get more seasoned our recommendations naturally get better. We become a better source of support to families through accepting ourself right where we are today.


Allowing for Mistakes in Parenting 

Every parent makes mistakes. Part of the way children evolve is by learning through the positive and negative examples of their parents. We are not meant to be perfect parents, just as we are not meant to be perfect bosses or perfect humans. We are meant to be perfectly ourselves and evolve. If we were already perfect, we would be done learning and there would be no reason for life. Life, as I understand it, is about learning and evolution. The imperfections that we come in with are a part of the learning process. The more we forgive ourselves as parents for our failures and our mistakes, the better able to parent we will be. We want all our resources going to what is best for ourselves, our children and our family as a whole. Self-criticism of our imperfections only gets in the way.

Parenting from acceptance gives us much greater power to affect change than parenting from guilt. When we accept ourselves, it’s easier to create an environment that is free of guilt and shame in which our children can learn. We can reflect on our behavior from this place of acceptance and learn from it. Our article, Parenting from the Heart, gives you a more complete description of this approach to parenting. 


Allowing for Mistakes in Business and Administration

Every company makes mistakes. These mistakes may be fiscal, policy related, or just poor decisions around people. When the company can learn from its mistakes, it will grow and prosper more easily and quickly. A company that sets up a culture where everyone can learn is a company that is prepared to grow and prosper. A company is only as strong as the learning culture it creates. When a company knows how to handle adversity with acceptance and love, the company will thrive and endure lots of hardship. 

When we don’t shame our employees for the mistakes they make, these mistakes become vital growth opportunities. Too often leadership is impatient with the learning process and critical of their staff for things they “should already know how to do” in the eyes of the leaders. This attitude hurts the employee and makes them less comfortable being themselves. When we know we will be accepted whatever we do, it’s so much easier to learn. Mistakes need to be corrected; however, how you correct them is everything. When they are corrected with love, it’s so much easier for everyone to breathe easy and be themselves. 


How We Best Learn From Mistakes

When we have no shame or guilt around mistakes, it’s easiest to correct them and move forward. This is true in a family, a company, or a community. When we fully love and accept ourselves, we don’t divide against ourselves at all. Heart-Centered ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) models this practice. We are dedicated to helping ourselves, our clients, and all of our relations achieve their fullest potential. 

Heart-Centered ABA is a particular kind of ABA Adam Bulbulia developed here at Bridging Worlds Behavioral Services. It’s our intention to be a flagship for this new kind of empathy based and unconditionally love infused behavioral work. May your learning process be a little easier from reading this article.

We hope you liked this article and it helped you get a deeper understanding of Bridging Worlds Behavioral Services and how we work. You can find more articles about us on our blog.

Bridging Worlds operates using Heart-Centered ABA and the Heart-Centered Operating System (HCOS), developed in partnership with Heart-Centered Revolutions (HCR), a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. 

For more information about HCOS, please read HCR articles and find out how you can schedule HCOS consultation and training for your business or organization on our website. Heart-Centered Revolutions has helped us grow and flourish and they can do the same for you.

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For example: 

If the client is nonverbal we might work on expanding their communication skills to include gestures or pictures.

If the client is overstimulated in the grocery store, goals might include short trips to the store with ways to self-regulate.