Looking at past mistakes, it’s tempting (and helpful) to figure out what went wrong. Psychologist Ian Newby-Clark of Psychology Today writes that instead of just reflecting on what went wrong, we shouldn’t forget to focus on what went right.
Photo by place light – flying not physically.
Newby-Clark argues that even though it makes sense to figure out our mistakes, we can neglect to see how things went right. Focusing on those items gives people a sense of achievement and satisfaction, two things that should not be undervalued in their own right.
[S] ometimes, just sometimes, things go right. When things go right we are, of course, happy. Also, we feel the need to get on with the next thing. We want to focus on what’s not working and fix that.
I suggest, though, that reflecting on what went right is just as important as determining what went wrong. Here’s a great question, called a counterfactual by us social psychologists: How could things have turned out differently? How might you have failed? Kind of strange to think that way. But productive.
It’s a good bit to keep in mind next time things go wrong, or well, right.
What Went Right? [Psychology Today]