Thomas Carlyle on Making Mistakes

It is a fact of life. There is nothing you can do about it.
You are going to fail. You will fall short. You will make mistakes. You will stumble in your work. You will err. You will take wrong turns. I have had some doozies. I have fallen and fallen hard. Wham - flat on the face. And that is not just ancient history many years old. I am thinking about this past week! 

Failure is not the failure...unless you fail to learn from the failure. Failing is part of the learning process. That is not the problem.

  • When you are afraid to fail and therefore, don't try - now that's a problem!
  • When you have failed and won't admit it - now that's a problem!
  • When you have failed and didn't take the time to learn why - that's right, that's a problem!
  • When you have failed and didn't have any idea what to do differently - BIG PROBLEM.

It is the perspective of most of the great mentors and leaders, that mistakes are vital. If you are not making mistakes, then you are probably playing it too safe, too cautios, too "comfort zone" settled and you are not on the leading edge of life, work and leadership.

Thomas Carlyle quote On the Choice of Books  making mistakes learn from failure

How do you feel about failure and mistakes?
What has been a recent, significant failure, shortcoming, mistake you have made?
What did you do to learn from that experience?
What will you do differently?

As you answer these questions - you are finding the "precious instruction" Carlyle knows is waiting us when we discover "that we are wrong."

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International