This is kind of a riff on my recent post failures faced by Michael Jordan and others, but it has more to do with making mistakes.
Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM, is quoted as having said:
“Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him.”
I had a similar experience with an employee back in the 90’s when I worked at a video game store — he made a big mistake (clearly on accident), but we kept him around because he was now the least likely to make that mistake again.
Physicist (and Nobel Prize winner) Niels Bohr says that mistakes lead to excellence:
“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”
Mistakes are how you learn. As with failure though, mistakes aren’t the goal. It’s pretty easy to go around screwing things up on purpose, and you’ll never learn anything from that. Rather, the point is to not be afraid of trying new things and learning when things don’t go your way.
That’s kind of the point of this blog. I’ll hit on some winners, but I’ll undoubtedly come to some poor conclusions as well. When I do, I hope you’ll call me out on it so I can learn from that mistake.
Being overly cautious can help keep you in a job, but that might not always be a good thing. As Henry Ford has said, “Those who never make mistakes work for those of us who do.“
Be fearless, make mistakes, learn from them, repeat.