Nov 2, 2019 | Fred Toke, Lifestyle

Messing Up

Messing up is inevitable because it comes with being human. What’s more important is not to sulk in misery or shame. It is vital to be able to quickly convert a deadly mistake into a valuable lesson of personal development. Whether it is about your personal or professional life, here are four tips to help you bounce back and walk away stronger and smarter.


Own it. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen, don’t try to place the blame on anyone else, and don’t make excuses. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, acknowledge your responsibility, and move on. Insecure people may be afraid of looking weak, but not admitting your mistake makes you look worse and costs your respect. The ability to be vulnerable is a strength in itself. Acknowledging that you messed up earns you the respect of those who around you and makes you human.

“You will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose. You will embarrass yourself. You will suck at something. There is no doubt about it. Never be discouraged. Never hold back. Give everything you’ve got. And when you fall throughout life — fall forward.” – Denzel Washington


When a mistake happens, communicate, and offer your apologies to those affected immediately. The longer you wait, the more difficult and awkward it becomes. Early exposure also allows you to draw them into the solution. Let them know what happened, how it happened, and as much as you know about how you plan to make it right and keep it from happening again. By giving people advance notice, you can often contain the situation and avoid further damage.

MORE OF DR. TOKE’S ARTICLES: Five Ways to Live Life with Authenticity 


Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor from 161 A.D. to 180 A.D. and philosopher, said: “If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone; the harm is to persist in one’s own self-deception and ignorance.” Talking things out with a more mature and trusted friend or elder can clear up a situation, and correct a misstep. Having someone as a sounding board can help untangle your thoughts that are pushing you to make bad decisions. Contrary to popular belief, seeking help is not a sign of weakness.


Messing up once is understandable. But, when the same error is repeated consistently, it is no longer a mistake but a habit. Continuing in a harmful pattern is unproductive and destructive. The most reliable way to overcome entrenched behaviors is not to set new goals but to develop new habits instead. For new habits to stick, it comes through persistent practices. Due to the brain’s proclivity to form patterns, the repeated focus eventually yields rigid sequences of conditioned responses, i.e., new habits. It is essential to focus your intention on becoming a better and responsible you and the key is to find ways to enjoy the process of achieving that.

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” ― Rick Warren

“Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.” ― Oscar Auliq-Ice

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

Fred Tokè aka Dr. Tokèmon

EDITOR’S NOTE: Original title: “I MESSED UP BIG TIME! So What Now?” This article reposted with permission. Originally posted HERE.

Dr. Fred Toke, Psy.D., a Clinical Psychologist by training, was a former adjunct professor at Nanyang Technological University. He is also a guest lecturer at the University Malaysia Sabah’s Faculty of Medicine. Besides teaching, he also provides clinical psychotherapy services to the downtrodden and the discouraged.

Check out Dr. Toke’s Article Archive HERE.

Follow Dr. Tokemon’s Facebook page HERE.

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