Saturday, July 05, 2008

Curious about Mistakes: We All Make Them, But Don’t Always Realize Their Importance

Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit.” - Conrad Hilton, American businessman

It is not our mistakes that define who we are; it is how we recover from those mistakes.” - Bo Bennett, American businessman

I chose this week’s theme of “mistakes” because of a quotation I found on Tom Peters’ Re-imagine! daily calendar, “Bottom line: Mistakes are not the ‘spice’ of life. Mistakes are life. Mistakes are not to be tolerated. They are to be encouraged. (And, mostly, the bigger the better.)”

Also, the quotation was timely for me, because I have been trying several new avenues of relational marketing on the Internet. So, as you may imagine, I have been making many big and bigger mistakes. Peters is completely right, because I know that I learn so much more from my mistakes than those tasks that come easily.

You may also imagine the overwhelming number of quotations to read and choose from – with lots of variety, along with the general agreement that mistakes are good. If we are not making mistakes, most of the experts indicate that we are getting nowhere.

Here is the first sampling:
  • There are no mistakes, save one: the failure to learn from a mistake.” - Robert Fripp, English musician
  • A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” - George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist
  • Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.” - Nikki Giovanni, American poet
  • There are no mistakes or failures, only lessons.” - Denis Waitley, American writer
  • You're not the only one who's made mistakes, but they're the only things that you can truly call your own.” - Billy Joel, American musician
  • Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” - Mary Tyler Moore, American actress

In addition, some with a different twist:

  • Intelligent or not, we all make mistakes and perhaps the intelligent mistakes are the worst, because so much careful thought has gone into them.” - Peter Ustinov, English actor
  • We are a people who do not want to keep much of the past in our heads. It is considered unhealthy in America to remember mistakes, neurotic to think about them, psychotic to dwell on them.” - Lillian Hellman, American dramatist
  • Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” - James Joyce, Irish novelist
  • You make mistakes. Mistakes don't make you.” - Maxwell Maltz, American scientist
  • If you have to make mistakes, make them good and big, don't be middling if you can help it.” - Hildegard Knef, German actress
  • Know when to tune out, if you listen to too much advice you may wind up making other peoples mistakes.” - Ann Landers, American journalist
  • Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” - Steve Jobs, American businessman

A couple more that I like especially:

Failure is good. It's fertilizer. Everything I've learned about coaching, I've learned from making mistakes.” - Rick Pitino, American athlete

The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.” - Theodore Roosevelt, American President

And, one of my favorites (you know how involved I am with computers):

People think computers will keep them from making mistakes. They're wrong. With computers you make mistakes faster.” - Adam Osborne, American author

Make a list of your bigger mistakes and what you learned from them. They are the lessons we need for success.