I fuck up a lot. I mean, to an embarrassing degree. I’ve been losing my keys daily since 2007. I’ve dated less than amiable people. I’ve been fired. If my old-as-sin apartment had a stacked washer, I would leave my clothes in the dryer until it was time to do laundry again a week later.
Of my extraordinary talents, the ability to fuck-up any situation is one of the most prominent. Hence why I dedicated an entire website to the process (and what I learn from these less-than-fortunate situations).
Mistakes are a part of life. Even if you are the most perfect petunia that ever walked the face of this planet, you will make mistakes. When you make a mistake, the first thing you need to do is own it. Go knock on your neighbor’s door and admit you hit their mailbox because you were driving one-handed while eating breakfast cereal. Tell them the honest-to-goodness truth.
The second thing you need to do—this is important—is do not make it worse. Isolate the situation, work on your one incredible fuck-up, and do not add three more mistakes to your misfortune.
Do not make matters worse by multiplying the problem.
If I am the queen of screw-ups, then I am ruler of the universe when it comes to making matters worse. I will drown my sorrows in a bottle of wine, a pint of ice cream, or both; and for some reason think this will somehow fill whatever hole I dug for myself.
It doesn’t. It fills that hole with mounds of dirt with you trapped and buried underneath.
Let’s paint a scenario that is probably very familiar to you. You miss a deadline at work. You get screamed at for missing that deadline. At five, you decide you “deserve” a break so you skip your workout at the gym, text all your friends, and head straight to happy hour. You then proceed to down four gin and tonics (that have far more gin and a lot less tonic) before happy hour ends at seven. Then, because you’re shitfaced on a Tuesday, you go to the nearest pub you can find and order two full orders of tater tots. You eat so fast you think you’re about to suffocate, and luckily because you are so unattractive when you’re eating that fast that you manage to not hook up with anyone (thank goodness). Your friends shove you in an Uber. You crawl into bed with your jeans still on, forget to set your alarm, and are late to work the next morning. Then you get screamed at again.
Does this ^^^ situation sound like it’s solving your problems? Hell to the no. You got yelled at twice, not once. You missed your workout and now you feel guilty. You used up your weekly cheat day on a Tuesday and are paranoid you gained three pounds overnight. Plus, you’re hungover and can’t think straight at work, therefore falling behind for the rest of the week.
Screw-ups: five. You: zero.
You’re already dealing with one problem. Why would you try to cure one mistake by adding four more?
Here is an alternative solution you might consider:
So you got yelled at. Big deal. Own your mistake. Fix your work. Stay an hour later if you have to. Go to the gym and burn off some steam. Even if your boss stays mad at you through Friday, that is still one problem you have to focus on, that is still four less problems than listed in the previous scenario.
The key to a fast-recovery (from any mistake) is to compartmentalize the problem. Do not let it multiply. Don’t try curing whatever issue with calories, booze, or screaming “You just don’t understand!” to whatever friend is just trying to be supportive.
Nip that situation in the bud—got it, buttercup?