During the American Civil War, President Lincoln had trouble with General McClellan. He was a great organizer, but indecisive. Fear of making the wrong decision can lead you to make no decisions.
Or, as a wise old saying says: he (or she) who deliberates fully before taking a step, will spend all their life on one foot.
Here are some steps to help you deal with worries about making mistakes:
1. Accepting failure
One of the old movie moguls was once asked the secret of his success. He replied:
'I was right fifty percent of the time’.
The message is simple: no-one is perfect, so don't worry about making mistakes; you're going to make them.
2. Be prepared
That's the motto of the Boy Scouts and it applies in nearly every aspect of your life. The better prepared you are in whatever field of endeavor you are embarking, the less chance of a mistake.
So, if you're building a swing set, read the instructions and get all the necessary tools. If you're going on a job interview, get directions to the location, and leave early enough to get there on time.
3. Plan ahead
This has to do with scheduling. Whether you are painting a house, writing a report about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan or taking your daughter to fencing class you have to set things up ahead of time.
How much time do you need to adequately complete the task? You can't write a fifteen page report in a few hours. If you try to do so, you'll fail.
Do you need some special equipment or materials to complete the job? Can you get it easily, or do you have to order it? Failure to plan ahead can lead to failure as surely as self-doubt.
4. Relative importance
As stated above, you will make mistakes in your life: they're impossible to avoid. So, you have to learn to ask yourself just how important the issue is.
Often, the easy thing to ask is: in twenty years, will I look back and remember this issue? If not, then don't let the fear of a mistake rule your decision-making process.
This is a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, you need to know your limitations and not try to take on more than you can handle. That will most certainly lead to failure.
Yet, on the other hand, unless you try to move beyond the realm of the possible into the impossible, you will never know what you can achieve.
This can mean dealing with failure, but that can also be a step forward; as the next point illustrates.
6. Take a tip from Thomas Edison
This is the man credited with creating much of the 20th century technology . Yet, he dealt with failure constantly.
When asked how he could do that and still find the strength and determination to go on, Edison just smiled.
The incandescent light bulb took hundreds of experiments to perfect. His attitude about each failure? Each experiment was merely one more he didn't have to do again.
This is reflected in the Billy Joel song, ‘Second Wind’. In it, Joel says that you learn more from your mistakes than anything else in your life.
7. Avoiding risk
Making mistakes is one thing, taking genuine chances with personal safety - whether yours or someone else's is quite another thing. Always be mindful of any risks connected with what you do.
Skydiving can be exciting and fun, but review the above points and be sure you're ready to take such a chance.
Some people say that a hero is nothing more than a person who does what he knows is right, in spite of his/her own fears and self-doubts.
Be striving to make use of the tips outlined here, you can be the hero of your own endeavors.
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report that reveals how to crush procrastination and sustain lasting motivation. Apply now because it is available for a limited time only at: stay motivated