by Dave Balch
It's good to make mistakes. That's not a typo, folks, and I have not lost my mind. It IS good to make mistakes, and here's why.
First of all, mistakes are a clear sign that you are trying new things. It's always good to try new things because when you are trying new things you are growing. If you never try anything new, how can you improve? How can you expand? How can you innovate? The simple answer is, "You can't."
Look around you. With very few exceptions, everything you see in your physical world is the result of someone trying something new. (I realize that mountains and clouds and birds aren't necessarily the result of someone trying something new, but work with me here.) Every single detail of every single thing is the result of someone trying something new. Think about that for a minute. The chair you're sitting on; the fabric on the chair; the pattern on the fabric on the chair; the dye in the pattern on the fabric on the chair are all the direct result of someone trying something new. (These words exist because I was willing to try something new.)
The automobile is the result of tens of thousands of people trying tens of thousands of new things. The assembly process, the invention and refinement of all of the materials in the car including upholstery, carpeting, metal, glass, rubber, and plastic all had to be invented and perfected. And then there is the invention, refinement, and assembly of all of the components in the car and all of the individual parts of all of the components in the car: radio/CD/cassette player, windshield wiper motor, engine, carburetor, transmission, brakes, etc. Can you imagine how many mistakes were made before all of these individual materials and components were perfected and then assembled into the automobiles we know today?
Another good thing about mistakes is this: when you are making mistakes, you are learning. (At least you better be learning!) Consider this: Edison failed 10,000 times before he perfected the light bulb. When asked how it felt to fail that many times, he remarked that he hadn't failed 10,000 times, but rather had learned 10,000 things that didn't work.
Finally, when you make a mistake you are that much closer to success. Why?
Because when all is said and done, you will have tried some finite number of things before you succeeded. Every time you made a mistake you eliminated one of those things and are one step closer.
But this all doesn't mean that you should forge ahead with disregard for the consequences of a mistake. Quite the contrary. When you try something new you have to be willing to set some reasonable limits so that, in the event that it doesn't work out the way you want it to, you will be in a position to try again.
We all have limited resources in the form of time and money so don't blow them all on one approach to a problem. Realize that it probably won't be perfect the first time and allocate these resources appropriately so you can learn, modify, and try it again. Only by embracing and using your mistakes in this way can you make significant advances in your business and your career.
There is an old axiom that goes, "If you're not making mistakes, you're not trying hard enough."
So go forth and make mistakes. And learn. And grow. And prosper.
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