“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
I was recently discussing the art of making mistakes with a colleague. We agreed that making mistakes isn’t the issue. Rather, it’s making the same mistakes repeatedly that get us into trouble.
The fact is that the best learning, if there is learning to be had, comes from making mistakes. The challenge for many of us is to recognize this, and that when “bad things” happen, the goal is to learn from them. Too many times, we have a tendency to downplay mistakes, categorize them as something other than a mistake, or to blame other people or the situation. We need to own our mistakes. You can’t learn from a mistake if you don’t first acknowledge that it happened.
Mistakes are sometimes obvious. We send someone a quote for $100 when we really meant it to be $1000. That’s easy. The harder ones are what I would describe as “mistakes of bad judgment”. Sometimes, a person can make three or four “bad judgment” mistakes in a row. It might seem like these are three or four different mistakes, but they’re really not. They’re more than likely an indication that something is out of alignment, that goals are not clear, or responsibilities are muddled.
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
Personally, I aspire to make a new mistake every day. If I go too long without making a mistake, it likely means I’m not pushing the envelope enough. And, if I repeatedly make the same mistake, I need to take a good hard look at what I’m doing.
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
― Albert Einstein
We talk about this at FayeBSG all the time – don’t worry about making mistakes. Just don’t make the same one over and over again. Find new ones to make every day.