Mistake – the word itself evokes emotions in us, one of fear, apprehension and anxiety. And coupled with that feeling, when we make a mistake, most of us may become defensive, thus creating an environment of stress.
It was the same with me till I realised that mistakes (not always ) are the foundation of innovation. You may ask how? Based on my learnings, I am sharing thoughts that have helped me in my journey and believe me, are still going strong.
Rule 1 – Mistakes are inevitable
When a child is born, he/she doesn't know how to walk but indeed starts with understanding the environment, accepting the strengths and weaknesses, falls, falters but eventually learns how to walk. Now use this analogy with our professional environment, and you may understand the importance of mistakes and more importantly, how they are inevitable.
Rule 2- Dare to admit your mistakes
In an interview to Midday, Former International cricket umpire Steve Bucknor admitted to 'two mistakes' in the controversial Sydney Test in 2008 between Australia and India. "I made two mistakes in the Sydney Test. Mistake one, which happened when India was doing well, allowed an Australian batsman to get a hundred. Mistake two, on day five, might have cost India the game. But still, they are two mistakes over five days. Was I the first umpire to make two mistakes in a Test? Still, those two mistakes seem to have haunted me." It takes guts to admit mistakes and an honest person to accept it.
Rule 3 – Learn from your mistakes
Nelson Mandela shared during one of his interactions that he learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Over the years, I have learnt to learn from my mistakes, not feel ashamed of making them and displaying a sense of courage while admitting them.
Rule 4- Avoid arrogance when you make a mistake
Blockbuster CEO John Antioco refused to buy Netflix and refused to adapt to the media and entertainment industry's changing environment. The result is for everyone to witness. In a world dominated by digital transformation, Netflix grabbed the opportunity, took over, and is one of the topmost OTT platforms with a considerable subscriber-base while Blockbuster is a non-entity.
Rule 5 – Always share your mistakes so that others don't reinvent the wheel
Nokia was No1 and a force to reckon with in the mobile phone manufacturing industry. But somewhere the story took a turn, and as of 2013, it's market share was reduced to an all-time low 3%. This has become a relevant case study for people to understand that some mistakes are irreversible and may cost dearly. Therefore, it’s good to learn and not reinvent the wheel.
I believe mistakes are an integral part of your growth journey. But when you make a mistake, make sure you admit humbly, learn from it and most importantly, don't repeat it!