Mistakes

Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgment.

My life in a nutshell; I was/am a scholar, teenager, student, technician, senior technician, chief technician, father, husband, team leader, and operational manager. Currently I am semi-retired and presently enjoy amateur radio, mentalism, infotainment, and magic. In each of the above roles I have made mistakes ranging from small, big, to utterly embarrassing mistakes. I often cringe when reflecting on these past mistakes.

So what’s the solution? We need to learn from our mistakes so that we do not run the risk of repeating them. We must develop the wisdom and sense to make good decisions and choices. Good judgment will only develop if you truly learn from your mistakes. Unfortunately, for many people, it takes a few repeats of the same mistake to learn the lesson. Of course you can only learn from a mistake after you admit you’ve made it. Once you start blaming other people you start distancing yourself from learning valuable lessons.

We’re often taught in school, our upbringing, at work etc. to feel guilty about failure and to do whatever we can to avoid mistakes. This sense of shame combined with the inevitability of setbacks pretty much explains why many people give up on their goals: they’re not prepared to make mistakes or to fail in their endeavors. The fact is, the more challenging the goal, the more frequent and difficult these setbacks will be. The greater your ambitions, the more dependent you will be in your ability to overcome and learn from your mistakes.

The following are typical mistake categories;
• Stupid mistakes: knocking over a paint can.
• Simple mistakes: you didn’t anticipate the number of guests hence you haven’t catered for enough meat for your braai (barbeque) albeit it is easily overcome by quickly slipping out to the shop to purchase more.
• Involved mistakes: Mistakes that are understood but require regular effort or habit to prevent. It often requires significant changes to avoid. Regularly arriving late for work, or high staff turnover due to the lack of people, and/or managerial skills.
• Complex mistakes: Unavoidable outcomes which are unforeseen. Examples include making tough decisions that have unfavorable outcomes or poor results – relationships that are doomed to failure! Making decisions on something that is beyond your capability or lack of knowledge i.e operating in the ‘dark’. It is virtually impossible to fix something you don’t understand. Incompetent people are to incompetent to realize their own incompetence (Dunning-Kruger effect)

Seven ways to ensure you learn from your mistakes;

• To accelerate learning you need to first accept responsibility.
• Make a post mortem in what went wrong.
• Don’t equate making mistakes with you being a mistake.
• You can’t change mistakes, but you can choose how to respond to them.
• Always ask if there is room for improvement.
• What kinds of changes are required to avoid making this mistake again?
• Do you need to acquire additional knowledge to overcome your mistakes?

Infotainment: utilizing magic and mentalism to entertain and inform.