Byron's Babbles

Recipes For Success

Obviously, no matter what you do, there is never a guarantee for success. We just use recipes and practices to increase our chances of success. Basically, we follow “recipes for success.” In other words, a number of good practices that we have either discovered for ourselves through trial and error, or others. All this popped into my mind as I read Chapter 38, “Own Your Mistakes,” in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). DTK taught us in the book the we need to own up to our mistakes or our credibility is undermined. By owning up to and hopefully learning from our mistakes, we become trustworthy and human.

As a believer in having a growth mindset, I began to think about the difference between a mistake and failure. In doing some research I found that the difference is in the learning, which to me is a big part of the “owning up to it” advice of DTK. Then I turned to Seth Godin who said, “A mistake is either a failure repeated, doing something for the second time when you should have known better, or a misguided attempt (because of carelessness, selfishness or hubris) that hindsight reminds you is worth avoiding” in The Difference Between A Failure and A Mistake. He went on to say, “A failure is a project that doesn’t work, an initiative that teaches you something at the same time the outcome doesn’t move you directly closer to your goal.” Guilty as charged. Using Godin’s definition, I’ve made lots of mistakes and failures.

We all make mistakes. Do not forget that mistakes are behaviors, just like experiments. We must clean up after them and own them. Failures are outcomes and all about the learning. Don’t make the mistake (pun intended) of not learning from our actions.

Living Is Having A Past Full Of Mistakes

The other day as I was having dinner with a good friend I was talking about some mistakes I had made. He said, “Byron, part of living is having a past full of mistakes.” Wow, how true this is! And, how impactful it was to hear from this. As a person who never worries about failure and tries to learn from every mistake, it was huge to talk this out.

The thing to remember and tell ourselves, however, is that the mistake was not on purpose. We didn’t misunderstand circumstances or miscalculate a situation on purpose. Would we forgive someone else? Sure! So we need to remember to forgive ourselves too, and fail forward. This all doesn’t qualify if the mistake or failure was while taking a risk. That is the nature of risk taking and is necessary.

Then, we just need to do everything we can to fix the mistake. That may mean talking to someone, coming up with a better solution, or letting someone else help out. I always say to others, “There’s nothing you can screw up bad enough that the sun won’t come out tomorrow. And, if it doesn’t, it won’t matter anyway.” Remember, we are human and not infallible.

Finally, we need to take the position that we will be smarter next time. We need to learn from mistakes. Just as others have had amnesia about our past mistakes, we need to have amnesia about others. This is truly having compassion.