Make More Mistakes

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Series: The ABC’s of Professionalism

“Abraham Lincoln became America’s greatest Precedent. Lincoln’s mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, ‘In onion there is strength.’ Abraham Lincoln write the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also signed the Emasculation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clux Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor. This ruined Booth’s career.”

— From a compilation of student bloopers and mistakes, attributed to Richard Lederer. (Source: http://www.innocentenglish.com)

Now that you’ve hopefully had a good laugh, let’s get serious about “mistakes.” Human beings are deeply flawed in two respects. First, we make countless mistakes every day. No surprise, right? The curious part is why we harbor fears about making more. Fear of imperfection is the second and far greater flaw.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” — Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)

“To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all.” — Peter McWilliams, Life 101

 

“If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.” — Frank Wilczek (1951- )

We fear mistakes because it reveals that we are imperfect.  But, everyone already knows that. So why do we think that makes us look bad?

“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.” — Henry C. Link

“I have learned the novice can often see things that the expert overlooks. All that is necessary is not to be afraid of making mistakes, or of appearing naive.” — Abraham Maslow, Psychologist

“Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can’t accept your imperfections, that’s their fault.” — Dr. David M. Burns

Mistakes should be welcomed and valued because they are opportunities to learn and improve.

“Mistakes, obviously, show us what needs improving. Without mistakes, how would we know what we had to work on?” — Peter McWilliams, Life 101

“An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats failures simply as practice shots.” — Charles Franklin Kettering, inventor

What we learn from our mistakes they will guide us and nudge us along the path toward success.

“If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” — Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968 )

“If I had my life to live over… I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.” — Nadine Stair

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t as all. You can be discouraged by failure – or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that’s where you will find success.” — Thomas J. Watson

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” — George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

“It’s a sad day when you find out that it’s not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you.” — Lillian Hellman (1905-1984)

If we are wise and able to suppress our arrogance, it is also possible to learn from the mistakes of others.

“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” — Sam Levenson (1911-1980)

To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes, the wise and the good learn wisdom for the future.” — Plutarch, Historian

Still, one’s own mistakes handled professionally are the best-learned lessons.

Don’t argue for other people’s weaknesses. Don’t argue for your own. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it immediately.” — Stephen R. Covey, Author and Speaker

“It’s always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worthwhile.” — Garry Marshall, ‘Wake Me When It’s Funny’

There are proper and improper responses to mistakes.

“Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else’s can shorten it.” — Cullen Hightower

“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.” — Paul “Bear” Bryant, “I Ain’t Never Been Nothing but a Winner”

History has proven there’s an undeniable connection between mistakes and innovation.

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” — James Joyce (1882-1941)

“He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.” — Samuel Smiles

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” — Steve Jobs

Here’s the lesson. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, then commit to improvement. As long as your intentions were moral and ethical and your efforts were careful and thorough, there is no valid reason to feel guilty about a mistake, even if it caused harm. Of course when harm has occurred the whole matter of forgiveness and reparations must take place. After that, there’s not much else you can do but move on and do better.

“How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.” — Publilius Syrus (~100 BC)

“Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” — Norman Cousins (1915-1990)

“Forgiveness does not always lead to a healed relationship. Some people are not capable of love, and it might be wise to let them go along with your anger. Wish them well, and let them go their way.” — Real Live Preacher, RealLivePreacher.com Weblog, July 7, 2003

The worst thing is to allow one mistake to turn into more.

“A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” — Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC)

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford (1893-1979)

Accepting our limits and imperfections as humans is not the same as being cavalier about mistakes. Errors are inevitable and they are serious business. Learning to deal properly with mistakes is the mark of a professional.

“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life” — Sophia Loren

God bless,

— CC

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© Copyright October 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com

Winning

There are winners and losers in life. Contrary to popular opinion, winning is not a lottery based on privilege, birthright, luck or special talents. There are way too many real-life “Horatio Alger stories” that prove otherwise. The number of “train wrecks” among the rich and famous makes the same point. Winning comes from having the right attitudes and making the right choices.

Winners are made in the kiln called “adversity.” It is the intense heat of adversity that strengthens and refines. Each time people conquer adversities, they are made stronger for the next trial and reminded that losing is NOT about falling down. Rather, losing is defined as “not getting up.” For winners, losing is not an option.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” — Bible, James 1:2-3

There are four types of people — three of them are winners.

Innovator: a person who is driven to do what has never been done before.

Orville and Wilbur Wright had a vision – powered flight. No one had ever done it, but these brothers believed they would be the first. So, they devoted their every spare moment to discover how. Innovators ignore the critics and slavishly chase their dreams. When innovators stumble, their dreams inspire them to get back up and try again. Along the way they might successfully discover hundreds of ways that do not work before they find one that does. But, innovators never give up.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” — Walt Disney

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” — Arthur C. Clarke (1917 – )

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Anonymous

Leader: a person who does what needs to be done even when he does not feel like doing it.

Leaders believe that anything that has been done before can be repeated and improved upon. They embrace the challenge to be the sequel to someone else’s legacy through their own innovations. By adding new value through the improvements they contribute, leaders raise the bar. Leaders attract followers and teach followers also to have success through a winner’s mindset, discipline, focus and hard work.

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” — Ray Kroc

“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” — Stephen Covey, The 8th Habit

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” — Tom Peters

Follower: a person who trusts and emulates a leader. A wise follower pursues his dreams by finding a good opportunity and choosing a good leader to follow.

The rest is a game of “Follow the Leader.” Followers do what that leader does, in order to go where the leader is going. Good followers are actually leaders in training, even if they don’t realize it. They just need confidence through experience to become leaders.

“Even sheep should have brains enough not to follow the wolf.” — Joseph Goodfield

“Remember that it is far better to follow well than to lead indifferently.” — John G. Vance

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” — Woody Allen

Loser — a person who consistently sees life as an empty glass will, when presented with an opportunity, make excuses, imagine all of the worst things that can happen and succumb to the fears of his/her imagination.

Such people justify their lack of achievement by blaming something or someone. Losers also have ideas and dreams, but they either lack virtue or have allowed themselves to be held captive to the negative opinions of others. Losers give up too often and too easily, but losers seldom start anyway because they fear failure above everything else.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas A. Edison

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford

Anyone can be a winner by choosing to win every moment of every day. The formula is simple, even though it’s not always easy.

God bless,

— CC

© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com