I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts of wisdom and knowledge.
- Igor Stravinsky
Again and again I run across quotes from people who most would consider geniuses in their field that offer variations on this same theme - "I learn most from screwing up."
At the same time, the fear of making a mistake is one of the biggest obstacles I see people encountering. They want the fruits of their efforts to come out perfect and spit-shined, but they are afraid to go through the R&D required to get there (i.e., they're afraid to make mistakes they can learn from).
Not only are mistakes a great source of insight that we can apply to next steps in our journey, sometimes they're absolutely required to make us stop and listen.
Have you ever been insistent on making a certain decision or taking a specific direction, only to hit a brick wall or have things implode? Sometimes it takes hitting that brick wall to realize, "Hey, I need to do something differently here." The mistake can be a wake-up call. It can amplify the voice of what you really need to do to make it loud enough to hear over the din.
Next time you make a mistake, don't beat yourself up for it. Celebrate the genius of your mistakes, and be thankful for the insight you've just been given. Learn from them and ask yourself, "How can I apply what I've just learned?"
You might even try keeping a mistake genius journal. Not a place for you to berate yourself for how many mistakes you make, but a place for you to actively learn from what has happened. Explore the mistake, explore what insights you've gained as a result, and summarize those insights into key points.
This will do two things. First, it will crystallize your learning so you can easily draw from it in the future, and second, it will start developing a habit of looking for the positive side of your mistakes, rather than beating yourself up about them.
Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM