You can only learn from a mistake after you admit you’ve made it. As you start blaming other people, or the universe itself, you distant yourself from any possible lesson. But if you courageously stand up and honestly say: “this is my mistake and I am responsible”, the possibilities for learning move toward you. Wise people admit their mistakes easily. They know progress accelerates when they do.


Learning from mistakes requires three things:

1. putting yourself in situations where you can make interesting mistakes.

2. having the self-confidence to admit to them.

3. being courageous about making changes.

The Four Kinds of mistakes:

1. Stupid: dumb things that just happen.

2. Simple: Mistakes that are avoidable but your sequence of decisions made inevitable.

3. Involved: Mistakes that are understood but require effort to prevent.

4. Complex: Mistakes that have complicated causes with no obvious way to avoid them next time.


The Learning from Mistakes Checklist:

1. Accepting responsibility makes learning possible.

2. Don’t equate making mistakes with being a mistake.

3. You can’t change mistakes, but you can choose how to respond to them.

4. Growth starts when you can see room for improvement.

5. Work to understand why it happened and what were the factors.

6. What information/steps could have avoided the mistake.

7. What small mistakes, in sequence, contributed to the bigger mistake.

8. Are there alternatives you should have considered but did not.

9. What kind of changes are required to avoid making the same mistake again? What changes are difficult for you?

10. How do you think your behaviour should/would change if you were in a similar situation again?

11. Work to understand the mistake until you can make fun of it.