I saw the above title posted on facebook. I laughed out loud but this post started me thinking. Can mistakes be beneficial? Why is it when we make an error, we have a tendency to cover it up or pretend that it never happened? Mistakes actually help us to learn. This makes us human.
Bill Gates said “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Or in my opinion, a mistake isn’t a failure; it is a step closer to being successful. Another quote from www.greatlist.com, “In life you are either winning (which is nice) or you’re learning (which is less nice) but can be better for you in the long run.”
When you make mistakes, you are learning. Thomas Edison is a good example of this. Edison failed over a thousand times before he perfected the light bulb. He supposedly said he hadn’t failed over 1000 times but rather learned 1000 things that didn’t work.
How can mistakes work for us? First, once you make a mistake, move on. It is important that you do not keep repeating the same mistake(s). For example, you try a new manufacturer for your struts. You find them not strong enough, pants slip off, etc. Don’t order them again thinking this was an aberration and the next order will be better. MOVE ON!
Take responsibility for your mistake. This is the only way you can move on. A failing does not have to mean the failure of your entire business. The mistakes you make will usually only affect certain segments of your business. These failings can lead to new ideas. As David Brown at VentureBeat puts it, “Failing fast isn’t about the big issues; it’s about the little one. It’s an approach to running a company or developing a product that embraces lots of little experiments with the idea that some will work and grow and others will fail and die. You could just get something out there and if it doesn’t work, fail fast, pivot, and try something else.” I love this quote!
Debbie Allen, author of Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters and international business speaker suggest as a business owner, you use good common sense. If you learn about something that doesn’t seem like it would work for your business, follow your gut. However, you need to remember the motivation you had to grow your business and don’t sit back and be content with “as is.” Keep an eye on the marketplace and continue to be on the lookout for new ideas.
Mistakes mean action. As mentioned above, you are human and you are alive. Mistakes and challenges are going to happen regardless. Most mistakes are reversible. They tend to be smaller than you think. If you act fast, the damage can be minimal. Mistakes make your smarter and mistakes create compassion. When your fellow business person, friend, family member slips up, you might think of your own failures and be more sympathetic.
LEARNING is the word to take away from here. Mistakes are learning. Do not be afraid of them. As Bob Marley said, “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet”