Best-selling author Scott Berkun also maintains a blog where he offers treatises on creativity, leadership and philosophy. One of the best and most timeless pieces he’s penned is How to learn from your mistakes.
The main thrust is that you should always be ready to do a post-mortem on any project, and figure out how you could have handled it better. Even if something’s a success, but especially if it doesn’t work out, analysis can only improve
Just being aware after, say, a chess match and asking “Why did I lose this match?” rather than going on tilt is a massive step up, and giving a self-analysis instead of simply whining or getting upset is, if not easy, at least a simple way to improve future results.
Stupid mistakes are just that, and it’s best to simply ignore them and move on.
Focusing on Simple mistakes (as defined in Berkun’s piece) is key; they are the ones that are easiest to avoid, and the ones that will lead to tripping you up in the future (Simple mistakes lead to Involved mistakes, which follow into Complex ones).
The second theme, that making “Complex” mistakes is better than Involved or Simple ones, is one that most people can deeply sympathize with. Berkun advises sitting down and actual writing out things you can do to make concrete, real changes to improve undesirable outcomes.
The article is about accountability and owning up to things you did wrong, and committing to fixing the wrong steps that led to it. Accountability means knowing where the misplay was, and moving your pieces differently the next game.
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