Making Mistakes and Recovery

Dear Boys,

It is a given, we will make mistakes. What matters more is how we recover from them, that will define who we are.

There are a few kinds of mistakes we will in life.

1-People gets hurt as a direct consequence of our mistakes

2-Things/tasks are not done timely, resulting in miss opportunities, failure to achieve goals/ deadlines

3-Errors as a result of poor performance due to lacking in training, skillset or knowledge

Generally these are the few, there may be more, out there, but the feeling arises from such incidents is one of embarrassment, regret, anger, disappointment, and you will be compelled to take certain actions to remedy these ‘mistakes’ or ‘failures’.

Apologise

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If your mistakes or failure resulted in people getting hurt. The impact is direct and you can see it, like you spilled hot liquid onto a person (never mind you like or dislike that individual!), you should say ‘Sorry!’ without hesitation.

Our goal in life is not to hurt people, unless it was purely pre-meditated or there is a specific purpose in doing so. Otherwise, if our actions unwittingly brought about pain and suffering on people, we must respond with remorse. Apologize first, then we can follow up to make things right.

For missed goals/deadlines

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This one is a bit tricky, as there will be a rolling, long-term impact with unintended consequences for a missed schedule. Sometimes there is nothing else you can do; the boat has sailed. You can sulk and look stupid, or you can scour around to try and remedy it.

Look for solutions, and negotiate to minimize the loss. Communicate and acknowledge your lapse if possible, demonstrating your willingness to take responsibility for the misjudgment and desire to make things right.

Lacking that skills, knowledge or training

Well, it happens, we are no rocket scientists, and when we are forced to build a rocket, our ignorance will show. What you made might look amateurish and you’ll get negative publicity and opinions about it. In this case, there is nothing else you can do but to know that you are pitted against a very steep learning curve.

Own the difficult tasks and set out to learn as much as you possibly can so that you can do as good a job as you possibly can with what little you know. It will be nowhere near good, but you must try.

Sitting around moping that you don’t know what you don’t know will not help, get up and ask for help. Start asking questions, be the noob, the newbie, and people will come to your aid. When they do collaborate with them, and learn as much as you can.

Sometimes the knowledge you get, might be incomplete, that is where you will need to take a gut check and fill in the blanks yourself, and connect the dots, hoping that it works. Doing things the first time can be stressful and the outcome might be less that satisfactory, what will make it worse is you dragging your sorry butt telling the world how unfair that you are given such a insurmountable task and lament about it.

Learning point is everywhere

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You learn the most when you fail, but people will not teach you about your attitude towards failure. Instinctively we will start to look for excuses as to why it didn’t work out, our ego will come to our protection, so that we can still retain some level of pride and save ourselves some embarrassment.

Be reasonable, instead of excusable, if you find reasons for your failures, you will be able to find ways to make yourself better. Reasons are fact based, and people can see you making efforts to correct your mistakes, and learn from it. Excuses are story based, and similarly, people can see how you try to weasel your way out of your own failures.

Reasons makes you work hard to better yourself, and learn from your mistakes. Excuses strengthen your own denial and you’ll learn how to cover up your mistakes.

A Single Strand of Silk

Dear boys,

One morning, after sending Ian to school, and I when I was walking to the bus stop, I happened to look up and saw this very innoculous sight of a cocoon of a worm, being held, perched on a tree branch; swaying gently to the unseen hands of the breeze, a single strand of silk.

It was a powerful epiphany.

We humans are too safe.

It is a worm, in the safe embrace of the cocoon, held only by a single strand of silk, if that silk breaks, the cocoon will fall onto the road, and the probably of being squashed by a car is well, higher than if the cocoon is higher up and away from the ground.

Does the worm knows that its life, it’s very existence and its entire  universe is depending on that single strand? And that single strand is made by no one else other than by its own resources and manufacturing capabilities? If it had known about its own vulnerability, wouldn’t it had made more than one strand? Some kind of back up mechanism.

It didn’t cared, because that is the nature of nature. Nature has a way of providing protection, and has a way of taking away the same protection. Too much protection and you will feel too protected, too little, then you will feel that vulnerability. Nature never cared, but nature has always been caring.

And nature is never vulnerable, there is  an order of things, silently humming behind the background. Nature is always ‘enough’; a single strand of silk is enough. But the human nature, on the other hand is ‘never enough’. We build and we build, and we liken ourselves to nature’s natural hoarders, the squirrels, who store their food for winter. But we humans tends to take things over board, and hoard to the level of selfishness.

I hope I can make you boys see that in life you can never be too safe. Sometimes, there is never enough time for 2 strands of silk, sometime one is all you get and you go with what you got.

Published on: Feb 28, 2014