More on learning from mistakes

Some recent e-mail about my essay on how to learn from mistakes. Brian wrote:

I enjoyed reading your article “#44 – How to learn from your mistakes”. One other category of mistake I would add to your list, really a continuation of the “Stupid” mistake, would be “Habitual”, or “Automatic”, whichever phrasing you like better. This is the case where you repeatedly make the same mistake(s) out of habit, it’s automatic. Take the person who wakes up every Saturday around 2pm and says “Gee, I wish I didn’t drink so much, why do I always do that?!”.

These are mistakes that we regret and always ask “Why do I keep on making the same mistake over and over again?”. From my personal study, I feel at the moment that the answer lies in making a new habit of pausing before we make a decision, and imagining the possible outcomes of the action and making a CONSCIOUS (rather than automatic) decision this time.

Absolutely – In fact Leo Buscaglia, in one of his books (I think it’s Living, Loving and Learning) talked about how being healthy depends on making more of our behavior choices. To grow as a person, in his estimation, hinges on seeing more and more of our own behavior, and even emotions, as choices and taking responsibility for them, instead of blaming others, or perhaps, the entire universe.

I’m at least at the point that when I wake up at 2pm on Saturday, I know full well why I made the choice :)

One Response to “More on learning from mistakes”

  1. John Caddell


    I love this theme of learning from mistakes. I started a site called The Mistake Bank ( where stories of mistakes are shared and discussed. I’ve referenced a couple of your posts there.

    I also love the way you discuss the need to be more aware of our own behaviors. The Mistake Bank project has definitely increased my awareness in this area.

    Keep up the good work.

    regards, John


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