Fostering a culture to make mistakes

School graduation is upon us. Many of my students will don their caps and gowns this Friday, walk across the stage and begin down a new life path.

A time of change.

A time of growth.

A time of making mistakes.

A time of learning.

A time of progress.

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

If you ask my students, they will tell you I do not regurgitate text books during class sessions. I teach by putting theories into practice and evaluating the successes and failures of myself and peers. Some of the most valuable lessons I learned thus far in my career (and personal life) have been learned the hard way. I share these lessons along the way with students. Intelligent mistakes are OK.

Life is a blank canvas…each of us is an artist.

Amber Naslund’s recent post about being unfaithful to your ideas spurred a storm of inner debate. Change, whether personal or organizational, is necessary for progression. Amber accurately points out that many times our growth is stunted because our egos get wrapped up in our ideas. We cannot let go and move on. She states:

“Here’s the thing. Not every idea needs to make it to the finish line. You don’t have to be faithful to them all. Sometimes, it’s okay to leave your ideas behind and crawl in bed with another one.”

Agreed. My fear is people are taking this advice too literally and being too fickle. Sometimes you have to hold on to that bad idea and realize it is a mistake. Sometimes you have to know where you are going before you know you have made a mistake. Give up too soon and you have lost progression of thought and disciplined growth.

Maybe I am sounding old-school.

One of the greatest lessons in maintaining balance is learning to let go. I get this…

Are you leaving time, in this crazy digital world where everything is moving at a rapid pace, to fail? To reflect on mistakes?

Give up too fast on ideas and you will not be able to prevent repetition of previous mistakes and help develop the YOU/organization in the future.

Treat everything that happens as a learning experience. With success comes failure and life balance.

Fail faster?

No, fail at the right time.

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/djwaldow DJ Waldow

    @Lauren – What a great follow up to Amber’s post. You’ve just gained a fan. My fav quote by you: “Give up too soon and you have lost progression of thought and disciplined growth.”
    Thanks again.
    DJ Waldow
    http://twitter.com/djwaldow

  • http://12commanonymous.typepad.com/ Lauren Vargas

    Thank you, DJ! Amber started a great conversation.