Monthly Article Archives: October 2000

Mistakes: Experiences from which to Learn or Feel Defeated? – Part IRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

In past newsletters I have described what I believe to be some of the main characteristics of the mindset and behaviors of successful people. By successful I am not placing the spotlight on the financial wealth people have accumulated nor their apparent social status but rather on such factors as how comfortable and content they are with their personal and professional lives, their capacity for compassion and caring, their ability to handle adversity, and the ease with which they relate to others. I have previously examined such characteristics of success as empathy, “stress hardiness,” and overcoming a “praise deficit” to help others to feel appreciated. In this and my next two columns I wish to turn my attention to what I consider to be another major feature of the mindset of successful people, namely, the ways in which they handle mistakes and setbacks. In my various roles as a father, clinical psychologist, educator, youth sports coach, and consultant I have long been interested in how children and adults understand and respond to mistakes in their lives. It is my belief that the response to actual failure or the possibility of failure strongly reflects a personÂ’s level of self-worth and feelings

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