January 26


Dare to make mistakes and make them as quickly as possible

By Harry Heijligers

January 26, 2018

Growth Mindset

This article is one in a series of Anti-Procrastination Mindset Hacks. Today the first Anti-Procrastination Mindset Hack: Dare to make mistakes and make them as quickly as possible. Making mistakes is only human so you better get over it as soon as you make one. Don't shy away from making mistakes because they are your ticket to learn something new and they guide you away from dead-end zones.

Please, read on, for today's Anti-Procrastination Mindset Hack:


Making mistakes is a fact of life. They are inevitable on your way to success. So, you better learn to love them and embrace them. And then learn from them. Failures can be very valuable when you learn from them. Hiding your weaknesses as people with a Procrastination Mindset tend to do, will bring you nowhere. Because then you will probably make the same failure again. And again. So, acknowledge your failures. Or, as Benjamin Zander used to say to his students when they make a mistake: “How fascinating!!!” This is a perfect example of someone with an Anti-Procrastination Mindset because he thinks that growth is always possible if you also dare to make mistakes. That’s why Mr. Zander, who is the musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and also teaching at the New England Conservatory, gives his students a straight A at the beginning of each year. “It is a possibility to grow into” he explains it. The best way to become successful is to improve yourself continuously by learning from your failures.

“Making mistakes is just a way
to find your path to your goal.”

making mistakes
Unfortunately, when you have a Procrastination Mindset, you think that you don’t dare to make mistakes. That’s not necessarily because you are a perfectionist, but it is mainly because you tend to be ashamed of making failures because you think that making failures says something about you as a person. You identify yourself with the mistakes you make.I am recovering from a Procrastination Mindset myself, so I don’t blame you for it if you have one too. A lot of people fear to be rejected by someone they like, and therefore they don’t dare to approach them. Like they don’t dare to perform a particular task, especially when it is something they have never done before.I don’t know about you, but I still have difficulties doing new things. And that is always because I am afraid that I am not capable of doing it. I have lost a lot of opportunities in my life because I even did not dare to try to go for it. I vividly remember, when I was 12 years old, my English teacher in High School threw a chalkboard eraser at me. Instead of trying to catch it, I stepped back and let it fall to the ground. I was convinced I couldn’t catch it. The reason for this is that I am blind with one eye, so I can’t see depth. But, having said that, I didn’t even try it! I was too afraid of making a mistake!You might think, that you protect yourself from failure if you don’t try out new things. But in fact, you are far worse off. Because now you miss the experience of the action and you have no chance of improving yourself. So, instead, see yourself as a human being who may make mistakes to improve himself. Don’t withhold yourself from experiencing new things! Life is far too short for that! Dare to fail, but do it as quickly as possible. And then learn from it!When you have a Procrastination Mindset, you are not focused on doing the work necessary to achieve your goals. To hide this, you try to hide the failures you make. People with a Procrastination Mindset think that the level of their intelligence is a fact as something which cannot be changed. In fact, they see the quality of their whole life as something unchangeable. And according to the study of Carol Dweck, it turns out that these people are more likely to mask or hide their failures from others than people with an Anti-Procrastination Mindset. They don’t want to look stupid to others. However, if you would have an Anti-Procrastination Mindset, you would know that you never look stupid when you make mistakes. On the contrary, you would know that the more failures you make, the more you would learn and grow and eventually the quicker you would achieve success in accomplishing your goals.

Only when you are lucky, you will find the perfect way to your goal the very first time you try. But the chance of that is probably the same as the chance of you winning the lottery. So, it is a fantasy to think that you will not make failures. And it is the most significant mistake of your life when you will give up on the very first failure. Instead, you need to be realistic. Realize that you probably have to try numerous ways before you have found the perfect way to achieve your goal.

In 2008, we were on a holiday in Croatia, and one day we were up in the mountains and got off track too much. Finally, we got totally lost in the woods with our car which is totally not an SUV type of car, so totally not suited for the job anyway. Below you can see a picture of our car at the end when we got finally back in the valley. But before it came that far, we first had to find our way back down the mountain. But in the woods, everything looked the same, and after one hour driving all kinds of paths, I finally said to my wife that we had to block the roads which appeared to be a dead end with one of the many fallen trees that lay everywhere. So, every time we were on a dead-end and had to turn and go back and came at crossroads, I got out of the car and blocked that road with one of those trees. So, I’d know that it was no use to try that road ever again. Again, one hour later, we stumbled upon a couple of roads crossing. Luckily three of the roads appeared to be banned with trees! So, there was only one road open. So, that’s the road we choose, and finally 30 minutes later, it turned out that this was the road which would lead us down into the valley. So, making failures is good, as long as you do something with it. Treat them as a dead-end sign and cross that road off to never visit again.

Making mistakes on holiday

“Making mistakes can act as a dead-end sign
to prevent you from doing the wrong things.”

The further away your goal lies, and the more difficult your goal is, the more you will find yourself on dead-ends while trying to reach your goal. Dead-ends come in the form of all kinds of frustrations, interruptions, and distractions. The trick is to keep your end goal always in mind. This is why you want to make a Vision Board of your goal to motivate you to keep trying to find the right way to your goal. Develop the flexibility to find new ways as soon as you realize that you are on a dead-end. That’s the most significant advantage of making mistakes: they act as a Dead-End Sign and prevent you from wasting your time on doing the wrong things.

So, don’t see making failures as a value judgment of your identity. No, it’s only a sign that you have to try something else. Don’t be a Don Quixote! Be an agile Kung Fu master who always finds his way to success. One of the things I like a lot about the Jason Bourne movies is that Jason Bourne always will find his way out to victory. No matter how desperate the situation seems where he has landed himself in, Jason Bourne has the confidence that he will always overcome every difficulty he encounters. That’s because he is trained to see opportunities in almost every situation. If you are making a failure, don’t freeze, and certainly don’t try to cover it up! Think as Jason Bourne and ask yourself “Where is my opportunity to victory?!” Or as Maria Sharapova, one of the most successful women athletes of her time, has put it: “A ‘No,’ or a rejection, is just a sign that something better is coming."

To back this idea that making failures is the only way forward, I have a few quotes from the man who probably has made the most failures in his life: Thomas Edison. After 1,000 failures to invent the light bulb, he finally succeeded in creating the working light bulb. But his motto after each and every failure was always: “Yeah!! I have found yet another way not to proceed anymore. I have found another dead-end!"

So, here is just a glimpse of his enormous wisdom:

  • Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
  • Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The surest way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
  • Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
  • Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
  • There is no substitute for hard work.
  • If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.


Develop your Anti-Procrastination Mindset and become a highly successful Goal getter by making mistakes as quickly as possible and embracing them and learning form them.

Start to see making mistakes as a way to quickly discover the dead-end signs on your way to your goal. The quicker you know that you are on a dead-end, the quicker you will find your way to your goal. So, start making mistakes as quickly as possible because it will make you more successful in achieving your goals!

And until you begin to see the change in your life, let me know in the comment box below, what is your view on this Anti-Procrastination Mindset Hack, and I'll try to support you with that.

And until we meet …

Live fully, be awesome,

Harry Heijligers

P.S. Please take a moment to share this article. Everyone should have the chance to change his mindset for the better, don’t you think?

Thank you!

Harry Heijligers

About the author

Harry Heijligers has more than 25 years of experience as a Project Manager and more than 17 years of experience as an NLP Trainer. He has a Dutch blog about NLP here: HarryHeijligers.com.
If you'd like to know about the Smart Leadership Hut, please check this: Smart Leadership Hut.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Never miss a good story!

 Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest trends!