Late Night Ramblings

Mistakes and Mishaps

So you stuffed up at work? Sent a text you regret to a friend? Posted something in anger online?

It happens, it's entirely human to make mistakes, and do things we wouldn't usually set out with the intention to do. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or is a sign to give up. As the timeless song repeats 'we're only human.' I guess the most important thing here is how you react to these mistakes. If you let the mistake derail you, one smaller error can have a snowball effect and lead to much larger issues. Maybe you’ve tried to hide the mistake, and it’s blown up in your face, or it grew exponentially while you tried to ignore it.

The best thing to do when you make a mistake is to take a breath, step back and evaluate the situation. You might need to let someone know as there may be flow on implications that affect others, or certain processes in place to deal with it. Once you have thoroughly evaluated the situation, you can then make a plan to adequately remedy or deal with the mistake as best you can. You may need to ask other people for help or discuss the problem with people you trust. It may be a simple as reflecting on your mistake and offering a sincere apology, or there may be internal work processes that you have to go through.

"It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." 
~ Bill Gates

When I made a mistake on the second week at my new job, I was completely freaking out. I think I was a lot more worried than anyone else at the company, who kept telling me it was okay and it had happened before. It was highly likely that the issue was going to be fixed in a few days with no one the wiser, but I’d catastrophised the entire situation in my head and kept thinking about the worst case scenarios. 

I did get straight onto fixing the mistake and followed it up until a resolution was obtained, but the entire experience taught me a huge lesson. Ever since that day I have been twice as diligent about checking my work and making sure I don’t make a mistake like that again (although I'm confident that won’t be the last mistake I ever make in my career).

I think the most important takeaway here for me when I make an error in the future, is to take a step back and come up with a plan of attack, resolve the problem and put strategies in place, so you don’t repeat it in the future. We can learn so much from our failures and mix-ups, so it’s important to recognise and reflect on the learning points brought up by mistakes and mishaps.

So Critical Thinking?

Today while I was at work reading a handbook on Communication Skills, I came across the topic of critical thinking. I've never really thought much about the way I think, so it was a really interesting read.

The handbook presented the eight critical thinking skills as:

-Explanation

-Inference

-Interpretation

-Analysis

-Evaluation

-Self Regulation

Here is an interesting paragraph on what exactly a critical thinker is, according to this text that is based on the California Critical Thinking Test.

'A critical thinker needs to be truth-seeking, open-minded, analytical, systematic, self-confident, inquisitive and mature. They use deductive reasoning to decide on the truth of a statement. They try hard to find evidence that contradicts a currently held position.'

Sometimes I catch myself making assumptions that really don't have any factual backing, and it forces to me examine what I'm basing my thoughts on. I've realised just how important critical thinking is in day to day life, especially in the workplace. We don't often realise that we've got all these pre-determined thoughts running through our mind, that have never been examined for truth backed evidence.

According to Sydney University, by developing critical thinking skills you are better able to evaluate, challenge and change structures in society. They have some fantastic reasons for developing critical thinking in your writing, a skill that is highly necessary at university and in the workplace.

The Foundation for Critical Thinking has some excellent resources on improving your critical thinking abilities, if you're interested in checking it out. Here's a great article written by a college student on 7 Ways to Improve Your Critical Thinking.

I think I'm going to spend a bit more time developing my critical thinking skills, hopefully it will help my writing abilities improve.

Embrace Your Individuality

 We are designed differently, so embrace your individuality.

Everyday I hear statements like 'I'm not good enough' and 'I'm not smart enough,' and I think to myself 'for who?' All that matters in life is that you're the best version of yourself, and not a version of somebody else.

Constantly aspiring to be someone else can be very damaging, because on your quest to be somebody else, you may loose track of who you really are. We were all designed differently, with different genes, personalities and talents. We were never made to be the same.

Life is filled with diversity and rich in culture, and this has only happened because people have embraced their own individuality. Too often I see people loosing their individuality because of their desire to follow the crowd and fit in. I've always held the view that you need to embrace your unique personality, as it is a gift, not a burden.

You are an amazing person, and by trying to be someone else, you loose a key part of your unique spirit. Learning to be happy with who you are is definitely a challenge, but it is an important and healthy challenge.

Every time that you think that you're not good enough, make sure you ask your self who you're not good enough for. If the answer is for your friends and family, then you need to know that you are good enough. They love you just the way you are, regardless of your flaws.

True friends don't want to change you into somebody you're not, and neither will your family. If your answer is for the world, then chances are you're trying to live up to the standards that the media place on you. It's not worth it, those standards may seem ideal, but they're not who you are.

So give it a try for a week, exist for you and not the world. Be content in the fact that your family and friends love the real you.

Lessons From High School

High School was an experience in itself, but the lessons I learnt that were most important were all from outside of the classroom. Although I spent most of my days learning English, Maths and Science, the best aspects of school occurred through the activities and events I got involved in.

In many ways I felt school didn't prepare me for life, but learnt what I needed to from other areas of my life.

Here are some of the standout lessons that I learnt during high school:

Lesson #1: The things that make you different, are the things that make you stand out.

Lesson #2: Things often happen for a reason, although you may not see it at the time

Lesson #3: Self-worth and self-love come from within

Lesson #4: Don’t push away your friends and family when things get hard

Lesson #5: Creativity is always important, don't let school kill it

Lesson #6: Sometimes teachers have pretty awesome stories, if you're willing to listen

Lesson #7: Having a little courage can open you up to a world of new opportunities

Lesson #8: Everyone feels just as confused as you do about their future, stop stressing

Lesson #9: People generally want to help you, you just have to ask

Lesson #10: Don’t discard someones advice and ideas just because they are younger

I’ve been thinking a lot about high school recently because I had a long conversation about it with my friends. This topic has also had quite a regular appearance on Quora, and it looks like an area people want to know more about.

The lessons above were the ones that stood out to me the most, and the ones that I still remember now. Everything we do in life leads to lessons and stories, but sometimes it takes a bit of reflection to figure them out.

What lessons did you learn from the high school experience?

Best Wishes,

Kate