How to learn from your mistakes

What does this button do?Since the ESIs and 5M seem to be thinking about mistakes they've made, I thought this article I came across yesterday was timely.

How to learn from your mistakes by Scott Berkun

He has an interesting discussion of types of mistakes (stupid, simple, involved and complex) and what you need to do to stop making the different types of mistake.

For involved mistakes ("mistakes that are understood but require effort to prevent"), Berkun speaks of the need to make tough changes. It may require acknowledging weaknesses in oneself, and renewing commitments one has broken before. Furthermore, "success in learning from mistakes often requires involvement from other people, either for advice, training or simply to keep you honest."

For complex mistakes ("mistakes that have complicated causes and no obvious way to avoid next time"), the key is to gain an objective understanding. For this Berkun more strongly recommends the involvement of others, rather than flailing around and probably making things worse.


The kind of mistakes you make define you. The more interesting the mistakes, the more interesting the life. If your biggest mistakes are missing reruns of tv-shows or buying the wrong lottery ticket you’re not challenging yourself enough ...

...if we habitually or compulsively make stupid mistakes, then what we really have is an involved mistake...

The learning from mistakes checklist

  • ....
  • Don’t over-compensate: the next situation won’t be the same as the last.

Connecting this back to the 5M, when she asks why she's always with Peter Pans, I think some of us believe she is making an involved mistake. In which case, she needs to acknowledge what she is doing wrong and make some difficult changes. Others, including the 5M, believe or suspect it is a complex mistake that needs to be understood better before it can be corrected. That would be the camp I fall in.


Agatha said...

Not to tread on Siren's toes here, but where does Sheryl Crow's song about mistakes fit into this schema?
And, 4D, was I talking about mistakes I've made? I don't think so. Was the 5M talking about mistakes she's made? I don't think so. She is simply lamenting the dearth of fully evolved men in this godforsaken town.

coyote said...

Dwarf, with due respect to Mr. Scott Berkun, (if that's his real name) it's an interesting theory 'n all. But I see little practical distinction between involved and complex mistakes. In either case, what's important is not to understand the what, so much as the how. (Why is usually the least important question to ask, in dealing with a mistake... I digress.)

Point is, 'acknowledging what you're doing wrong' and 'collecting more information' are really hairsplitting labels for the same process of gaining self-awareness.

In both, you must reach a revelation of some sort before you are equipped to deal with a problem. In both, there's a danger of getting mired endlessly in the process of acknowledging/gathering, and thereby avoiding dealing with the actual problem. In both, you eventually need to act, otherwise yer life is stuck. Bad. Period.

It may be that our mistakes make us interesting, but the ways that we deal with 'em are where the real evolution (or devolution) happens.

Favourite Mistakes, Agatha, are another matter entirely, for another thread...

Corrie said...

Favorite mistakes may be one and the same of what we are talking about here, apparently...

(Original words and music by Sheryl Crow. This chording a Sirenic interpretation. No "source" to acknowledge, any of you smart-ass agents out there...)

(D)Did you (G6-F#m5)know, when you (Em)go,
It's the (C)perfect ending (D) to the bad day I've gotten (Em) used to spending,
(D)when you go (G6-F#m5) all I (Em)know is (C)you're my favorite mistake (G),
(C)You're my favorite mistake (G).

The point 4D was trying to make, I think, is that 5M doesn't acknowledge any mistakes, but she MAY be making some, causing her relationship problems. He thinks, that if she is making mistakes, the root causes could be so complex, there may be no figuring them out. As for Siren's mistakes, I think my biggest one has been fully-well knowing the relationship sucked, but still trying to make it work, and still trying to give the benefit of the doubt to the other party.

So, what I've learned is: there's a right time and a wrong time to forgive and forget, and give the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes, warning signs should be heeded.

Perhaps 5M will never be able to figure out the root causes of what draws her together with PP's. However, she could still learn: whatever the reason (as Coyote astutely points out, it really doesn't matter), she IS ending up with PP's. So memorize their warning signs, and drop them like hot potatoes ASAP. Don't even reach a "relationship" point with them.

For example: if 5M always is drawn-to and likes starting up conversations with "helpless"-seeming guys, the ones who get to the front of the check-out, then have no money to pay, or show up on first dates late (couldn't help it, car ran out of gas), wearing a wrinkled old shirt (can you believe it, my mother forgot to iron it AGAIN?), and with no plans on what to do (I thought YOU'D take care of it) then she should stop thinking "Isn't that cute? He's so helpless. He NEEDS my help," and RUN as fast as she can.

He's a classic PP.

4th Dwarf said...

Well, now, Siren, I'd say ye put some words in my mouth that I wouldn't have said meself, but ye've raised some fine points.

For example, I'm not saying her relationship troubles are beyond figuring out, but that they are not readily apparent (even to wise sages such as ourselves) and need proper investigation to understand.

If it's true that she is only attracted to Peter Pans, a solution that she not get involved with anyone who gives off a whiff of PP Cologne would condemn her to a life on her own.

I suppose she could join that asexual support group as one of the members whose bent doesn't allow them to exercise their sexuality, but that doesn't seem like an answer I'd ask her to accept.

The Independent Red Green Observer said...

If women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. Problem with the 5M is, she seems to find this M fella handsome, but not too handy. Sometimes my wife thinks I'm neither. But, hey, we're still married. So maybe deep in the 5M's mind, M isn't really a mistake. Like that ceiling fan I installed upside-down. Seems in spite of all the gripin' about M she'd rather be with him than anyone else. Thing is, in their relationship she's a giver, he's a taker. Like the muskrat down by the swimmin' hole that took a chunk out of my hand last week. But maybe she's OK with that. Even if no amount of duct tape is gonna change things.

The Independent Bob and Doug Observers said...

G'day, eh? Today's topic is Canadian content on the ESI blog. If they were lookin' to boost the levels, they coulda come to us instead o' that Red Green guy.

Doug: Yeah, it's not like we were doin' anything else.

Bob: Speak for yerself, hoser! I been workin'.

Doug: Collectin' a different kind of beer from every province is not a job.

Bob: I'm kinda like the 5M and M, a graduate student. In the school of hard knocks.

Doug: Speakin' of mistakes, if it wasn't fer you we'd still have a record deal.

Bob: Don't worry, eh? Ludacris is gonna return my calls.

Doug: I hear he likes back bacon.

Bob: Well, that's all, eh? See ya round the BH.

Doug: Do they serve beer?

Bob: Coo - loo - koo - loo - koo - loo - koo - hoo!

Doug: Coo - loo - koo - loo - koo - loo - koo - hoo!

Conch Shell said...

I know, let's really piss each other off, and make lists pointing out each other's mistakes, so we can help each other.
It could be a game, seeing how long we stay friends.