Make Friends With Your Mistakes

Is being wrong such a bad thing? I suppose it depends on what you are wrong about. Alex Baldwin seems to be having trouble with having been wrong about a gun that was not loaded. Most things though are not so bad you should avoid doing anything that might not be right.

” ….  the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” Carl Sagan

I think we could safely add Einstein, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the folks who thought the internet was a fad, and a thousand more.

Being wrong is not such a big problem.

How you react to it is though.

Daniel Kahneman has summarized the right approach to that as well as you can.  “I don’t like being wrong, but I do like having been wrong.” Being wrong and knowing why is how we learn. Mistakes are our friends. We should expose ourselves to situations where we can fail. We should teach our children to explore and make mistakes. It is very cheap to learn when you don’t mind making mistakes. It’s necessary too. ou won’t discover your limits without making mistakes.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

It appears you have to be prepared to fail to be a success. An insightful mistake is better than anything else you can do.

Are there people who have never failed?

I suppose there are, but is it because they are perfect like a friend at university? “I was wrong once, I thought I had made a mistake but it turned out I really hadn’t” More likely the mistake free have never tried anything. Although in fairness, he was brilliant.

Being wrong is not a blemish unless your ego demands perfection. Take major league baseball player, Mike Trout. He is exceptional. Maybe one of the all-time best. They pay him $37.6 million a year. He has 10 more years to go at that rate. You can probably live on that even in Los Angeles. His career batting average is 0.305. That means he gets a hit 30.5% of his official at bats. That also means he fails to get a hit 69.5% of the time. If he took each out as a failure, do you think he could have reached his skill level? Not a chance. To learn, you must fail. You win if you learn from it.

The bits to take away

Avoiding mistakes is itself a mistake.

Never pay the price of a mistake without enjoying the value of your education.

Experience is the best teacher and for the price it better be.


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I build strategy and fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways and alternate timing to achieve both spending and estate distribution goals. In the past I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning, have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Banks – from CIBC to the Business Development Bank.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email to don@moneyfyi.com

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