Well, a few days ago when I was doing the previous self analysis question so let’s see what the question for today is. And it is “Do you learn something of value from all mistakes?”.
And this is a hard one as it seems I don’t fully know what’s a mistake, which may sound weird, but I think there is some truth in it, at least for me. And this brings me to do a search for ‘mistake’, which brings me to: “an action or judgement that is misguided or wrong”. And some more: “
The problem is that in my opinion you can’t make a ‘mistake’ as I believe that everybody always does what he or she thinks is best, given the knowledge, experience, etc. he or she has. So looking back I don’t really know what I have done ‘wrong’ anytime, even though there are some things I guess I would have done different, indeed, when looking back.
As today, or actually yesterday, I made a mistake, quite a large one, even a repeated one, but I didn’t know what else to do as it felt and feels like choosing between two bad things, where I chose the easy way out. So did I learn from this mistake and previous similar mistakes? Well, apparently not, as I keep making the same mistake again and again.
But I don’t see any alternative that is better!
But indeed, that is not the question, whether I made a mistake, even if it is the same mistake. The question is if I learned something of value from it. And again, in this case, I don’t think I learned anything of value. I just ‘lost’ and keep losing with this same mistake over and over again. And I tried doing different, but the result was always negative, more negative, at least on short term. And I believe in the long term this mistake and similar mistakes may catch up with me, but until now it didn’t, so until now I just keep getting away with my behavior even though I consider it wrong.
So the only thing of value with the type of mistake of today, the repeated mistake, is that I can get away with it, at least until now. So is it then still a mistake? Or is it a mistake anyhow looking at the definitions above? Like I consider it poor judgement or an error in calculation (figurative calculation), but until now I have been proven wrong as the result has not been negative, except me feeling bad about it.
So is a mistake only a mistake if the outcome is bad? And with this my motorcycle accident from five and a half years ago comes into mind, a motorcycle accident in which I was severely injured, even almost died. And I know now what the mistake was, something like riding a motorcycle at my age without any decent practice in a group, in this case a group of two. So did I learn something of value from it? Yes, I think so, as I would still ride a motorcycle, but not anymore in a group, even though I now know that it is much more dangerous than I thought before the accident. As I also learned something like that every motorcycle rider, literally every motorcycle rider will have an accident in the end, a bad accident where he or she gets badly injured or dies.
And yes, many business mistakes come into mind, and yes, I believe I learned something of value from them, especially the large ones where I lost a lot of money, even that much that I am still suffering from that, still was not able to pay all my dues. So I learned to be more careful, but I still made similar mistakes, even though every time I did better. But not good enough.
And that is where I am very frustrated, as I think I learned a lot, an awful lot, in life, mainly because of mistakes. But I never learned enough to finally do ‘good’, do well, run a business or do a job that brings me and my customers and co-workers happiness, value and money, in other words pleasure.
So well, let’s look a bit closer to the definitions of ‘mistake’ and see if I can recognize mistakes better. As that may be the first step to improvements, the improvements I need so badly.