No.234: Making sense of mistakes

Willmot's Weekly Wisdom

“Well, that was silly of me.” Perhaps not. It could be you showed everyone you’re grounded and imperfect like the rest of us.

“I’m so embarrassed.”  “Sorry I got it wrong.”  “It’s my fault we lost.”

These are examples that happen every day, in every organisation, by real people, doing real work, in the real world. When you attempt good things, you run the risk of getting it wrong, being called out for mistakes, being unappreciated by those who didn’t bother to try, or being short of the goal. But you gave it a go.

Of course, you can avoid being humiliated, outclassed, defeated, or overlooked by not attempting to achieve; by doing nothing. Doing nothing is easier than doing something, and it means you never have to second-guess yourself or be exposed to criticism.

The alternative is to work with fear, embrace the narrative, and make a difference for your organisation, community, peers — and yourself.


“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
— George Bernard Shaw.