Why a Mistake Is Your Best Teacher

The mistake is our friend – the most beautiful affirmation I have heard from my little one, following her student – teacher discussions, during primary school.


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Like the main role of the pinkie toe is to make sure all your furniture is set in the right place and it’s subject to constant check-up, the same happens with mistakes. Sometimes you learn from them “the hard way”, other times the easier way, and there are times when you learn nothing at all from a mistake.

No matter if you have held a management position or not, you surely have had your share of bad decisions in your career. S U R E L Y!

Whether you admit it or not, that’s another story – it’s quite normal to be wrong. If you are doing something, of course. If you don’t do anything, exposure to mistakes decreases significantly and you are safe, but at the same time you have good  chances not to achieve anything.

Right after denial, acceptance and acknowledging phases, you should be able to make the difference between a mistake and a bad decision. For example, a mistake is to go forward even though the GPS tells you to turn right. A bad decision is to go towards the mountains when you were actually set off for the sea-side.  

Inside any mistake lies an opportunity to learn, to correct something that didn’t work properly. The baby learns to walk by making one mistake after another, from a drunken-like stage to the straight walking posture. The more he/she improves these skills, you can  actually see joy on his/her face.

When the company you work for has made a mistake, it might fall under your responsibility to pass this on to the customer. The best approach is to simply admit the mistake. There is no point in hiding behind the bush, if something was promised and another thing was delivered – no matter what “delivery” means. You can put the blame on global warming, the government or any other natural disaster, but the truth is that you represent the company and it’s not relevant which department made the mistake – just take it upon yourself.

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” Richard Branson

You are not the mistake, just the carrier of bad news. It’s highly unlikely for anyone to label you as Professional Mistake Maker. In order to diminish your mistakes, the following steps may help:


Try a new approach for not repeating the same mistake in the future;


Mistakes are simply valuable “errors” from which you get to learn, though I am always focusing on things I do better after learning something from past pains.

Good luck mistaking!

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