I Love Making Mistakes

Many people, myself included, dislike making mistakes and will do anything to avoid them. We are brought up to try to get things right not get them wrong, and so we continually strive for perfection in all that we do.

Often when we make mistakes we are reminded of our school days when we were made to feel bad about our mistakes. I remember at school getting some maths questions wrong and the teacher asking me if I had ‘been drinking’. This was not conducive to helping me improve my maths and did not make me feel any better about my mistakes or that they were a good thing. The result was that I was desperate not to make mistakes the next time, yet I was missing out on a learning opportunity if only the teacher had had the patience to give me useful feedback.

Now that I am an adult and there is not the teacher/pupil imbalance things can be different. When I make a mistake I get feedback and learn from this to improve things for the future. So, nothing is wrong, but simply ‘a work in progress’. What a wonderful way to learn.

When I recently developed a questionnaire for people to complete for one of my businesses I made the mistake of setting up times to ask each person the questions by telephone. I had feedback from several people that it was hard for them to commit to a time, yet they would be happy to help if they could do so in their own time. When I did my next questionnaire, therefore, I made it an online survey that people could complete when it suited them, and I have had many more responses. I, therefore, learnt from my mistake, used the feedback to improve my technique, and so had a better result.

The inventor Edison made 1,000 attempts at inviting the light bulb before he was successful. He did not regard these as failures, but simply 1,000 steps on the way to creating his great invention, through which he gained much learning in order to perfect it. We too can be like Edison and grow to love our mistakes and see them, as he did, as steps along the way and opportunities for learning.

I, therefore, am starting to love making mistakes, to relish them and then, using the feedback gained, do things differently. The more mistakes, the greater the learning, and the more steps I am along the way of getting things right next time!

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