This material was used in an earlier draft, but not included in my book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation.
Expecting mistakes doesn’t mean that mistakes are great in and of themselves. Mistakes are a fact of life; they are going to happen. You will make mistakes, as will I. The real mistake is repeating mistakes because we didn’t learn from them the first time. Mistakes are a reality; not learning from them is a problem.
“My life is full of mistakes. They’re like pebbles that make a good road.” – Beatrice Wood, American artist (1893 – 1998)
It’s interesting to see similar ideas that have been learned (and shared) by people from incredibly different backgrounds and industries — including common themes of the “My Favorite Mistake” podcast.
Engineer Jonathan Andell was one of the first certified “Six Sigma Black Belts” in the world (yes, that Six Sigma that was mocked on the show “30 Rock”). His favorite mistake story was about a time in a meeting when he gloated about solving a problem that others doubted could be solved.
Other than not gloating, what else did he learn? “It’s OK to make a mistake if it’s a stepping stone.” Not all mistakes are helpful stepping stones — but getting better at learning from mistakes, in general, helps us find those stepping stones.