Why ‘Learning from your mistakes’ does not work!

“Smart people learn from their mistakes” Agree?

But what if we believe that the mistake is not our’s? 🙂 Which I guess is …most of the times 😉 Do you see why learning is hard? 😀

For example, if someone leaves the org – we ponder why and try to learn. Underlying assumption is “Attrition is our fault”(which need not be true btw!)

  • But what if we fire somebody?
  • What if our vendor is not performing, and we are looking for a replacement?
  • What if we left the marriage because our partner was abusive?

The assumption then is the employee/ vendor/ partner was wrong. So there is nothing to learn.

But every unexpected consequence is an opportunity to learn. To ask questions like:

  • So how do we we hire better next time?
  • What exact parameters to we evaluate our vendor this time, and how?
  • How do we make sure not to end up with a similar partner next time?

If we don’t reflect on these questions, we are damned to repeat the same unproductive patterns. Justifying that it is not our fault.

But if we would rather be happy than right, we need to recognize that smart people learn not only from their mistakes, but any unexpected consequences. Regardless of whose fault it is.

The aim of learning is not become more ‘right’. It is to get better in being in touch with reality. 

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