Convert mistakes into lessons and lessons into habits

The greatest motivator for starting new habits is public embarrassment. 

The experience creates just enough guilt and fear and humiliation to positively change our behavior for good. 

When my boss chewed me out for overlooking a very obvious spelling error on an important client facing document, all of the blood drained from my face and a wave of humiliation flew threw me. 

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Excuse me while I go slam my head repeatedly into a piece of electronic equipment with small knobs and buttons. 

However, instead of spending the next three days pouring salt on that wound, I remembered something my mentor once taught me. 

Convert mistakes into lessons and lessons into habits. 

And so, I built out a new editing workflow for client documents. One that forced me to take extra time and be more mindful of the details. This process involved printing pages out, reading them aloud, editing with a different colored pen and even cutting and copying text into different formats, just to make sure there weren’t any spelling or grammatical errors. 

It’s a little extra work, but it doesn’t eat up too much time, and it’s worth it to avoid the embarrassment of being yelled at again. 

That’s a habit. It started as a mistake, and then turned into a lesson, and now each time I practice it, I reinforces my new pattern of smarter thinking. 

Remember, failure doesn’t have to be expensive; it merely has to be embarrassing. 


What moment helped your habits get engraved so deep that they became natural and instinctual?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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