There are no mistakes – just lessons

One of the rules that I lay out before each of my public speaking workshops is that “today there are no mistakes – just lessons”. And of course what I mean is that no matter what happens when you stand up in front of the group to speak, it is not a mistake, rather it is a learning experience, a lesson a step closer to where you want to go: If you freeze, then you will learn that haven’t yet mastered your deep breathing and relaxation techniques that help you control nerves; If your mind goes blank as you are speaking, it just means that on the topic that I have given you to speak on, you have not had the time and the resources to prepare properly; If you hand gestures are waving around and distracting, then you are just unaware of your non verbal communications. – none of these are mistakes, just lessons and opportunities to learn.

And this philosophy is one that I adopt and teach not only for public speaking, but also for life. And it seems that other people agree as I have been able to collect quite a few quotes that emphasise that we should learn from our experiences and those things that don’t work out how we had hoped. Let me share some with you.

“We learn little from success but we learn much from failure”. Stephen Lundin”.

“The only mistakes we make in life are those we don’t learn from”.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”.  Thomas Edison

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”. Sir Winston Churchill

“Failure is a detour, not a dead end street”. Zig Ziglar

So as you try new things, take risks and expand your comfort zone in both speaking and everyday life – recognise that there are no mistakes or failures, just lessons to be learnt.

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