A philosophy of failure

Though I've been reading and writing about money for six years now, I still do stupid things sometimes. Most of these errors are un-interesting — it's the compulsive spending that's interesting, and I seem to have that under control — but sometimes it's instructive to look at the mundane mistakes I make, like shopping while hungry.

Well, last week I made another relatively un-interesting mistake, but one that's educational at the same time. Since it's typical of the dumb things I do from time to time, I want to share it, and talk about why I'm not going to let it bother me.

The Importance of Routine

Because I know myself and my forgetful ways, I've tried to create routines around many basic financial chores. (Learning how to outsmart yourself is a great way to make behavioral change.) For instance, I've automated most of my bill payments so that I don't have to worry about forgetting to send a check. Plus, I sit down for 30 to 60 minutes every weekend to work on my finances. Doing this prevents me from losing track of what I have and what I owe.

These routines help me, but they're not perfect. Even with rituals in place, I sometimes make mistakes.

For instance, last weekend I did my month-end financial chores: I paid credit card balances in full, I prepped my bank deposits, and I wrote checks for upcoming expenses, including my rent. On Monday I mailed the bills and made a deposit. Done deal, right? Wrong.

On Thursday evening, somebody slipped a note under my apartment door. It was a notice that since my rent payment was late, I owed a $75 late fee. Say what? I knew I had written the check, but I verified everything in Quicken anyhow. Yep. Bill paid. Plus, I remembered taking the check downstairs with me when I went to pick up a package at the office. And the final proof that I'd paid? I couldn't find the check anywhere. I must have made the payment.

But a quick check with the rental office revealed they'd never received the check. Where was it? Eventually I discovered it neatly tucked between two pages in my checkbook register. Alas, a typical J.D. mistake.

A Philosophy of Failure

A few years ago, I would have been angry at myself for making a mistake like this. Of course, a few years ago I wasn't as financially secure as I am now. But more than that, I didn't have the experience, the maturity, or the wisdom to cope with financial failures, even small ones. Now I can view things more objectively. I've developed a system for responding to small financial mistakes. Namely, I:

  • Figure out what went wrong. When I make a mistake, I take time to analyze why it occurred. In the example that prompted this post, a simple act — tucking my check into the checkbook register — eventual cost me $75. I wasn't mindful enough to remember the check when I spoke to the apartment manager; during the two minutes it took me to get to his office, I had forgotten about it. Lack of mindfulness is the source of many of my financial mistakes. Sad but true.
  • Make a plan to prevent the mistake in the future. In this case, I know not to tuck the rent into the checkbook register next time. But more than that, I've resolved that every month I'll just walk the check downstairs and put it in the rent slot as soon as I write it. Why wait? Procrastination is never productive.
  • View each mistake as temporary and isolated. The worst thing I can do when I make a mistake — financial or otherwise — is to treat it as a part of larger problem. Maybe it is part of a larger problem, but in the moment, as I'm responding to the error, if I view it this way, I begin to think of myself as a failure, which only leads to further failures. So in this case, I've reminded myself that never before in my life have I been late with a rent or mortgage payment. This is is an isolated incident. And it's temporary.

Another reason I don't let small mistakes bother me is that I've come to recognize that all these tiny errors, while annoying, actually make me a better person. These little failures are the price I pay in order to find success. I mean, Get Rich Slowly would not exist if it weren't for the hundreds of small financial mistakes I've made in the past.

And that's the thing: A single small mistake is no big deal. It's when these small mistakes compound or become habitual that you get into trouble. I used to be the sort of person who allowed mistakes to compound and to be come habitual. It was a disaster. But I'm not that guy anymore. Sure, I'm human. I do make mistakes, but I try to learn from them so that they aren't repeated in the future.

More about...Psychology

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Eugene
Eugene
8 years ago

Not sure if things are different in the US, but can’t you just have the rent automatically deducted from your bank account?

bg
bg
8 years ago
Reply to  Eugene

I agree. As a European, I constantly boggle how much checks seem to be an integral part of US livestyle. I haven’t written a check in 15 years.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  bg

The only checks I write are for:

– A small doctor’s office, where she doesn’t take credit cards
– When my students sell Girl Scout cookies or something (because they might lose the cash)
– Sending money to immigration for my husband’s various applications

I’ve had one box of checks for four years and we’re still nowhere near running out.

(I’m American.)

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  bg

I still write checks for many bills that I have to mail in (especially the many medical bills I have) and prefer it. My landlord doesn’t take credit. I don’t write checks when I’m shopping outside the house and I love shopping online. I use my debit card primarily.

I also have my electricity and auto insurance automatically deducted out of my checking account too.

I don’t understand why people turn their noses up at those of us who still use checks for many transactions. Different strokes, right?

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

These are the same people who feel that e-readers have made books obsolete and that newspapers are just too, too old-fashioned. Feel free to ignore them.

What they fail to realize is that in a few years all of their precious technology will seem equally pathetic to a newer generation.

DB
DB
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Wow, that seems a little harsh to me. I love automatic bill pay for most things, but still write checks to people like our nanny, contractors, etc. For the record, I also love physical books/newspapers/magazing, but when you’re going on a trip and have to pack light, nothing beats an eReader (I can easily read 6-7 big books on a week’s vacation)! However, I think the real point is that J.D. and folks like him who have difficulty with remembering/executing recurring payments would really, HUGELY benefit from just setting up electronic payments one time, and knowing that everything will happen… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Eugene

It depends on the company. My property management company won’t accept any form of payment other than cheque (I’m in Canada) and won’t accept post-dated cheques either. It’s a huge hassle whenever I have to be out of town.

Danielle
Danielle
8 years ago
Reply to  Eugene

It depends on the bank. Some banks in the US offer that service, others don’t.

sarah
sarah
8 years ago
Reply to  Eugene

I’ve always rented from an individual landlord with just a few units in a small building (2-flat, 6-flat). Usually a retiree. They don’t take credit cards.

Kevin
Kevin
8 years ago
Reply to  sarah

Who said anything about credit cards? We’re talking about having rent automatically debited from your checking account via automatic bank draft. No credit card involved.

Frugal Fries
Frugal Fries
8 years ago

I am so sick of the cheque for rent model. Can we please just charge that sucker? I am missing out on some awesome cash back rewards and it’s grinding my gears!

Leah
Leah
8 years ago
Reply to  Frugal Fries

If you want the rewards, I’m sure your apartment manager could find a way to charge you 3% more to cover their transaction costs and give you back your 1% reward. Or you could just automatically move 1% of your rent payment over to a long-term savings account each month.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Leah

Took the words right out of my mouth 🙂 I think people tend to forget what merchants/companies have to pay when someone uses a credit card. That 3% commission would be $27 on $900 rent. Ultimately, it’s consumers/renters that pay that fee.

Jennifer
Jennifer
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Yes, my last apartment charged $33 extra if I wanted to pay by credit card. Check or money order were the only other options.

TB
TB
8 years ago
Reply to  Frugal Fries

Or how about cash? An apartment I used to live in didn’t accept cash which annoyed me because that was how I was keeping expenses under control, by paying cash!

Also, if you usually pay on time and then one time pay your rent late, I found that if you nicely plead your case with the super. or the apt. office, they usually let it slide without a late fee for that one time.

Jacob
Jacob
8 years ago
Reply to  TB

It has to be illegal to no accept cash. It says right on every bill, This note is legal tender for all debits public and private.
If you offer it and they refuse it, I’m not sure what would happen, you probably still owe but they would have a hard time wining in court late fees.
I would be interested to hear what would happen if someone refused cash and then sued you.

Kevin
Kevin
8 years ago
Reply to  Jacob

That’s a myth.

No business is obligated to accept cash. Businesses always have the right to decline cash. Think about the implications for counterfeiting if it were any other way.

Businesses are legally allowed to require payment in whatever form they want: Cash, debit, credit, gold coins, whatever. As a consumer, if you don’t like the terms, you simply don’t buy.

Vanessa
Vanessa
8 years ago
Reply to  TB

My landlord does not accept cash for safety reasons. Being slightly inconvenienced by writing a check is worth it if decreases the chance of the office staff being robbed.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  TB

My landlord accepts cash, but only in person. He has an office here onsite (my apartment building is above his restaurant so he is always here for one reason or another). I just have to let him know in advance so the we can meet. He gives me a receipt during the transaction.

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  TB

ugh- when i lived with roommates, one would always give me the amount in cash because they had never ordered checks. our apartment was in an okay neighborhood, but the rental office wasn’t!!! i skittered around that neighborhood carrying pounds of cash to give to the landlord whose office i could never quite find (i would have just mailed a check, but said roommate was usually late with the rent too…). roommate also didn’t have a means of transportation, so whenever they were late, it was me that had to go trudging around in the hood with $800 cash in… Read more »

WWII Kid
WWII Kid
8 years ago
Reply to  Frugal Fries

I agree, and it’s not just rent. I could be getting rewards points for mortgage, real estate taxes, condo maintenance, water, my chiropractor and all kinds of things if they’d let us use plastic!

But you are so right about that credit card assessment everyone’s charging – $15 to pay my auto insurance by credit card?

I don’t think so…..

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

My bank sends a check for my rent automatically, for no fee. The rent is never late. If my tiny credit union can do this, I’m sure others can.

Matthew I
Matthew I
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

One of my tenants does this, it’s great! It comes at the same time every month, and since it’s a bank check there are no worries about it bouncing.

It was nice that he let me know when he set it up, so that I wasn’t too surprised the first time I got a payment from a bank I don’t use (his name is not the most prominent thing on the check).

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

I do the same also with a credit union but the thing takes sometimes too long in the mail. Fortunately my landlords are cool and don’t mind waiting a couple of extra days every now and then– they know the thing ships out on schedule.

Bryan
Bryan
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

I did the same when I was renting. Both the credit union I have now and the big bank I used to have had online bill pay for no fee. I’d set it up for a year at a time to send the check on the 25th of the month which always leaves at least 3 business days to get there so I was never late and didn’t need to worry about paying it. After a year, when you renew the lease, setup another year of payments with the new price.

Carole
Carole
8 years ago

When one is older and these things happen, the first thought is “my mind is going”. It’s nice to know younger people sometimes forget things, too.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

I hope you asked if you can get the $75 fee waived. Maybe you don’t have enough history for it, but places generally let things slide if you fix them right away (and have a good history).

Leah
Leah
8 years ago

I like to pre-pay several months worth of rent. This is a little bit of annoyance, I suppose, but interest rates aren’t high enough that I care. Especially if one has a short-term lease, it’s nice to pay it all up front. Anyway, you could pay three months worth at a time, and then you’d just have to remember to have a check sent on those specific days. That would cut down rent payments to four times a year.

Audrey
Audrey
8 years ago
Reply to  Leah

Personally, that would make it so much worse for me!! I usually remember to pay rent, but (especially if the first is on a weekend) I forget that I have to mail my check. And I always need a few days buffer because of mailing it to my landlord. If it was every few months, I’d probably be so much more likely to forget! It wouldn’t be habitual. Maybe I should learn to embrace electronic reminders…

Leah
Leah
8 years ago
Reply to  Audrey

I should add that most of my leases tend to be shorter-term (6 months to a year), so it’s fairly easy just to pay it all.

Electronic reminders are how I helped remember to pay rent when I did do the monthly thing. Super useful! Google calendar has saved my butt. I don’t put everything on it, but I do put the most important reminders there.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Leah

I don’t know what your typical rent is, but to be able to pay off 6/month or a year lease in one fell swoop is pretty impressive – especially for those of us who scrape just to have a decent emergency fund. I would have to cough up $4770 to pay 6 months of rent or $9540 for a year.

The adverb you used, “just”, in the context of paying off a years worth of rent imply that its been a while (if ever) since you had to face making a difficult financial decision.

Not judging, just observing.

Leah
Leah
8 years ago
Reply to  Leah

I save really well. I actually have a pretty small cashflow, and I found it much easier to manage my cashflow by eliminating small, regular expenses. I pull some money out of my lump sum savings account, pay the expense, and then concentrate on paying myself back rather than stressing about rent each month. My last rent was $450 a month, so the 6 month lease was $2,700. This was a big enough dent in my lump sum savings to notice but not big enough to freak me out too much. Then, I just concentrated on paying back that much… Read more »

WorkSaveLive
WorkSaveLive
8 years ago

Great point, JD! Despite budgeting for the past 6 years, I recently made a mistake of my own: I used to pay the majority of my bills manually. Well, awhile back one of my student loans informed me they were switching their payments to an automated debiting method. Well…I forgot to note that properly, and being the creature of habit that I am, I still paid my monthly payment manually as I’ve always done and they ended up taking another payment from me when it was time for the automatic payment to come out. It wasn’t the end of the… Read more »

Audrey
Audrey
8 years ago
Reply to  WorkSaveLive

That happened to me when I switched over to automatic pay. “Luckily” they credited my account for two months, so I thought everything was great. Then I realized the dangers of skipping a month when I saw the next month how much of my payment when to interest. 🙁

Sharla
Sharla
8 years ago

I recently put several bills on autopay, but then I didn’t bother to balance my checkbook. When I sat down last week to pay rent, I balanced my checkbook and realized my account was overdrawn. I really need to keep the part of balancing my checkbook even with autopay. Luckily, the account wasn’t actually overdrawn until after the rent check, so I could quickly fix it without fees.

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  Sharla

i have my bills set to autopay from my credit card, which i check weekly. this way all the bills are paid no matter what- no bouncing. the downside is all those charges that pop up on your statement! boo.

Marianne
Marianne
8 years ago

I recently got my first NSF fee in years and really beat myself up about it for a bit. Had I actually not had the money I don’t think it would have bothered me as much but a bunch of small silly mistakes and a bit of procrastination was what caused it. What’s worse is that my account was only short by a buck and change. The $40 NSF fee got me moving though and I fixed the little issues that I’d been putting off (the payment was from Paypal but I normally pay Paypal with my Mastercard. We had… Read more »

CD2
CD2
8 years ago

as david bach says, USE AUTOMATIC BILL PAY SILLY!!! You should not spend one minute of your time writing checks for reoccurring expenses. I would never get my payments in on time if i had to send them every month. Your bank does this FOR FREE (well, the good ones). If I can’t pay by automatic debit I use bill pay for rent and charity contributions. Plus, it makes filing your taxes easy.

Holly
Holly
8 years ago

No mistake is truly a mistake if you learn from it.

The only ones to regret are the repeats.

Mike Collins
Mike Collins
8 years ago

You have the right attitude when it comes to failure. We all make mistakes but it’s how you handle them that makes the difference. If you don’t learn anything and continue making the same mistakes again and again you’ll never change. But if you learn from your mistakes and improve yourself then you’re one step closer to success.

Peach
Peach
8 years ago
Reply to  Mike Collins

I agree. I see them as tough life lessons, that I DON’T want to repeat.

Megan
Megan
8 years ago

I hate when I make a mistake with food, like leaving a gallon of milk on the counter all afternoon. On the one hand, it isn’t a significant loss of money; on the other, it is a dumb mistake, especially if I have to go back out to the store to replace the item.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Megan

Me too! Occasionally I’ve made enough meat or vegetables for a couple of feels and then forgotten to put them away. (Now I use an egg timer to remind me to put them away in 30 minutes when they’re cool enough for the fridge.)

My other pet peeve is recipes that don’t turn out right. I hate, hate, hate throwing out a batch of muffins or cookies because there’s either an error in the recipe or because I goof.

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

this!!! i was making a huge batch of cookies for my husbands office, and i bought all the ingredients ($$$$$) and got to work. i tried to just double the recipe instead of making it twice, big mistake!! i had to just throw out the entire mixture, it was a huge mess. nothing mixed correctly, and i just overmixed it so it was chewy and gross. ugh. i spent a pretty penny at the store buying a second round of eggs/butter/etc.

Peach
Peach
8 years ago
Reply to  Megan

I have a habit of buying too much produce (on sale, of course) and then forgetting it’s all in the crisper. I end up saving and cooking some of it before it spoils, but some gets thrown away, and it’s just money down the drain.

Tonya
Tonya
8 years ago

I’m trying to get better about not being mad at myself for these little mistakes too. For me it’s a perfectionism thing. But I too have taken steps to try to minimize these mistakes, like setting up at least 5 electronic reminders to move my car on street sweeping days. Nothing more infuriating than seeing that bright rectangular ticket on your windshield!

John @ Married (with Debt)
John @ Married (with Debt)
8 years ago

Yes, these things happen. As we work towards financial independence, we are also emancipating ourselves from those feelings of anger and embarrassment when we make a mistake.

Having control over our money also means we are able to make little mistakes without treating it like the wheels are falling off.

Peg
Peg
8 years ago

We’re all human, and sometimes these things happen. Glad to hear you’re not beating yourself up over it.

Greg Miliates
Greg Miliates
8 years ago

Mistakes are NECESSARY for success. You learn more from trying and making mistakes than by months/years of research or sticking with your ingrained autopilot habits. Interestingly, this approach is a great way to begin when starting a business–even though most people just go in whole hog with an idea without even testing or validating it. A better approach is NOT to start with an idea, but with a market. You then learn all you can about target customers in that market, uncover unmet needs or problems to solve, and put out an initial product or service to meet the needs… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

View each mistake as temporary and isolated. The worst thing I can do when I make a mistake – financial or otherwise – is to treat it as a part of larger problem. Maybe it is part of a larger problem, but in the moment, as I’m responding to the error, if I view it this way, I begin to think of myself as a failure, which only leads to further failures. So in this case, I’ve reminded myself that never before in my life have I been late with a rent or mortgage payment. This is is an isolated… Read more »

Katie
Katie
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I agree in theory, but since this is the only time this particular thing has ever happened, it sounds like it really is an isolated incident. And when something is an isolated incident, it’s also important to recognize that.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Katie

It may be, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. This could be an isolated incident or it could be part of a larger pattern, but JD says he’ll treat it as an isolated one regardless. It’s right there in the quote above and in the article itself.

I’ll “zoom in” to highlight the crux of it:

if I view it this way, I begin to think of myself as a failure

That’s the thing–that’s a bad connection. A bad circuit causing sparks and overheating and gratuitous pain. It doesn’t need to be there.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Insightful comment, Nerdo. First, mindfulness is something that I have been consciously trying to train. That’s one reason I’ve de-cluttered my life, cutting back on my activities. It helps me be more present in the moment, to be mindful of what I’m doing and who I’m doing it with. But more than that you’re right: In the past (and to some extent still today) I have tied performance to self-esteem. And it’s not just me. This is something that man perfectionists do. In fact, I was just talking this weekend with a woman who wants to learn to play the… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

You might want to pick up a copy of Mindset by Carol Dweck. A negative pattern is just something to work on that can be fixed. It isn’t who you are. (I think tomorrow’s post on our blog is about engineering personalities…)

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Good to hear, JD! And happy to help if I can. Nobody should go through this self-flagellation if they can avoid it. I used to suffer from crippling depression because of this exactly, that’s why I’m familiar with how it works. Puberty disabused me of my grandiose childhood fantasies, so I was stuck in an auto-flogging subroutine ever since I was 13 (that’s right–13!). Adolescence was terrible, and a decade later I was very close to offing myself because of this (I’m not joking), and that lasted for several very bad years. How’s that for a toxic mind? Anyway, I’m… Read more »

Ryan
Ryan
8 years ago

Thanks for the post. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, but it’s important to learn from them.

Tiffany
Tiffany
8 years ago

I’m a renter after owning houses for more than 10 years so I’m not totally use to paying rent every month (my mortgage payment was automatically taken from my account). I was late once – with a late fee of $150! So I scheduled a ‘pay rent’ task in my calendar for the first of every month. I also mailed a check that never made it to the property management office. Fortunately, they were gracious not to charge me a fee and I have taken it directly to their office ever since. Like you, lessons learned.

Ellyn
Ellyn
8 years ago

Our checking account is at a major bank with online bill payment where the bank absorbs the cost of the postage for payments that can’t be sent electronically. When I receive a bill I immediately schedule a payment. The payment can be scheduled for any future date. This way I have control over how much I pay and when, but the act of bill payment is over and done on the day I get the bill. I also record the payment info on the bill, scan it, and throw it away (yes, I have my data backed up). But that… Read more »

This Aggie Saves
This Aggie Saves
8 years ago

People make mistakes. Too bad it cost so much. $75 is a steep late payment fee.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

We use Bank of America for banking and they will automatically mail checks for you every month. It’s an easy way to automate monthly bills with a set amount. We pay our HOA fees and daycare bills that way

sarah
sarah
8 years ago

I think the key here is that a mistake is easier to handle if your situation isn’t already dire. If you didn’t have the $75, or needed it for something else, I doubt you would have handled the mistake with such equanimity.

Drew
Drew
8 years ago

The right philosophy is vital when it comes to financial success.

retirebyforty
retirebyforty
8 years ago

Why don’t you just set up an automatic bill payment at your bank? That way you won’t have to think about it much and just have to make sure you have a certain amount in the checking account.

AverageJoe
AverageJoe
8 years ago

I’ve signed up for pay backup with all of my credit cards. They will automatically make a minimum payment to my credit card if I haven’t made a payment by the due date. If I’ve made a payment they won’t make one.

I only discovered this service about six monts ago when I inadvertently missed a payment and was disputing it with my credit card company. They don’t charge an extra fee either, which is awesome.

Lori Blatzheim
Lori Blatzheim
8 years ago

Thank you for this post. The very fact that you discussed a personal mistake in a public way shows us that you are human. You are willing to share this experience with us and it makes us feel a little better when we make an error. Sometimes we are busy, or we have something going on at home that makes us think or act less thoughtfully. My suggestion for anyone would be to take a few minutes following writing checks or using other bill paying strategies. This would be dedicated time to review what has and what has not been… Read more »

Krantcents
Krantcents
8 years ago

I pay evrything online, the guarantees delivery and I even get a confirmation number. I save the stamps and it is more efficient. Win/win!

Diedra B
Diedra B
8 years ago

My bank sends the cash for free to my landlord’s account at her bank. It takes a day or two and she has to confirm by email in order for it to be deposited. However, we pay the rent two weeks early because of how my spouse is paid (monthly on the 15th). Since we started that, we’ve never been late. Seeing a huge chunk of cash deposited from my spouse’s employer is my signal to go into my account and make the transfer. I still use checks for charity/gifts and the rare purchase. A box of checks has lasted… Read more »

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
8 years ago

Couldn’t agree more with “Make a plan to prevent the mistake in the future.” Reflect on what went wrong and come up with an action plan so it doesn’t happen again. Change your behavior pattern.

Lucille
Lucille
8 years ago

Failure is philosophy….when you do it enough times you get self-knowledge and then you won’t repeat the same failure but you’ll find new ones….and then eventually you’ll find success. This is my wealth philosophy – you have to be prepared to make alot of mistakes and learn from them to get ahead.

uri
uri
8 years ago

you might want to check your state laws to see if it’s legal to charge a late fee for late rent, and if so, how much. some state laws permit only a reasonable late fee, and $75 may be unreasonable.

William Cowie
William Cowie
8 years ago

I can relate to this post because I’m also forgetful and tend to beat myself up over them. You’re right – we simply need to keep making adjustments and write the money off as tuition. And not confuse mistakes with identity.

I am who I am, and if I make 30 mistakes a year, that doesn’t make me a failure. In fact, if I only make 30 mistakes a year, I’m probably doing better than most. My identity should precede my actions and any results that may flow from those actions.

Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

Sleeping Mom
Sleeping Mom
8 years ago

Thanks for that third tip. I actually practice the first two tips with my parenting, especially when I review a particularly exhausting tantrum with a two-year-old 😉 I take a look at what went wrong–the triggers, the reactions, etc., and try to come up with a few solutions to prevent the mistake from happening again. The third tip is good to keep in mind. Sometimes mistakes get so overwhelming that it’s easy to forget to take a step back and realize that these are common and are learning experiences, not the marks of incompetent people. The tips are great rules… Read more »

Ross McCabe III
Ross McCabe III
8 years ago

I agree with the tremendous value of learning from failure.

I see the first step is to learn from our own failures/disappointments. But, the greater opportunity is to learn from other people’s failures–such as in blog posts.

Nivene@Cashnet
8 years ago

I have to pay my student loan via check which can be mailed or cash in person. I often write checks, but it’s horrible when I find it on my desk the day before it’s due because I forgot to mail it. I started setting alerts on my phone to remind me to write the check and drop it off in the mailbox during lunch. I’ve been a lot better about it. That being said, I agree with the value of failure. You were right in saying that learning how to outsmart yourself is a great way to make behavioral… Read more »

NZChick
NZChick
8 years ago

Interesting comments. Being in New Zealand where cheques are pretty much an antiquity (unless you are part of a community club), online banking is the way most people do their banking. My bank lets me add in who ever I want to pay as a ‘payee’ and validates their bank a/c number. I can then set them up for bill payments (ie I control when they need to be paid, something like our irregular gas bottle payments) or as regular monthly payments such as mortgage payments etc. It is so much easier than having to remember to pay someone. Also… Read more »

Toby White
Toby White
8 years ago

shopping while hungry.->i used to be like this. When i started earning my own i used to buy things that are not important, i buy them because i want them not because i need them. Then came to realize that these are just material things which cant be brought when you’re already dead. There was even one time when the only money left was $50, i didn’t know what to do then, ran to my parents and asked for help. I’m no longer a kid i shouldn’t be begging when i am already earning. Time comes when i already knew… Read more »

bemoneyaware
bemoneyaware
8 years ago

Very well said. Why should we be afraid of mistakes. This stems from our school days when we rebuked for doing mistakes. But as you rightly pointed out there are no mistakes only learning opportunities.

Did a post on similar topic Oops I did it!

Thad P @ thadthoughts.com
Thad P @ thadthoughts.com
8 years ago

I think you misnamed this post. It isn’t philosophy of failure. It’s a philosophy for success. Why? Because you evaluate your experiences, learn from the mistakes and chart a different path as a result. No failure at all.

I heard of a John Maxwell book called “Failing Forward”… the title captures the essence of what I am saying (I really should read that book some day).

Thad P @ thadthoughts.com
Thad P @ thadthoughts.com
8 years ago

I think you mislabeled this post. It should be “A Philosophy of Success”. Too many people fail to learn from their mistakes, whereas you describe a process of self-assessment and then a re-direction of your future path. Sounds like a recipe for success!

david
david
8 years ago

not many people write about their mistakes – especially the ones that happen frequently.

I make similar mistakes. it is not easy to stay on top of everything and make it all work out.

I like how you admit that you ‘remembered’ taking the check to the office only to find out you never did. That is not just a classic JD move that is a move that all of us make at one time or another. Thanks for keeping it real.

James
James
2 years ago

Could not agree more with this article. Also success and failure are in the eye of the beholder. Keeping a positive attitude and adjusting what you consider success can also help you in life. Anybody can be happy. There are millionaires in this world who are miserable and janitors that are happy.

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