Louise Thompson: When a mistake repeated is really a decision
Mistakes are natural. They are a part of life. We don’t know what we don’t know, after all. Making mistakes is an essential part of learning and progress: They are the raw material our evolution and growth are fashioned from. Trying something and getting an unexpected outcome then adjusting our approach are the positive upsides to mistakes. They are how we get to know more. Do better. Be better.
However, one of my favourite authors, Paulo Coelho, wrote that “a mistake repeated more than once is a decision”. I have to say I think there’s a lot of merit in this perspective.
When people get caught out there can be a real tendency to avoid self-reflection, personal growth and taking responsibility by using the one-size-fitsall phrase “I made a mistake”.
I’ve seen people hiding behind “I made a mistake” like some sort of magical get-out-of-jail-free card when that behaviour has been repeated dozens, hundreds of times. Over years, decades even. It’s a ruse to avoid looking unpalatable behaviour in the eye.
Know this. That is not “a mistake”; that is an absolutely conscious choice. If you are big enough/old enough/ugly enough to engage repeatedly in whatever the inappropriate behaviour is (and believe me, in my job I get to see it all: co-workers embezzling, spouses cheating with the best friend, families hiding inheritance money, partners secretly selling off property to buy drugs, physical and emotional abuse), then you are big enough/old enough/ugly enough to own it, and its consequences.
Hiding behind “I made a mistake”, frankly, is BS of the highest order. It attempts to evade the consciousness of the choice that was repeatedly made.
I’m not buying it. You shouldn’t either.
Life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Find more at louisethompson.com