Burn your fingers.


It takes insight and courage to learn from mistakes. Insight to become aware, courage to admit to yourself that you made a mistake and may have been operating based on wrong assumptions for a long time. Worse, you might not have realised that you were making assumptions in the first place.

Unfortunately our ability to recognize and learn from our own mistakes is limited. We learn even less from the faults of others. Imagine where society would be if we would learn from others instead of making our own mistakes.

I can tell my son a million times  “be careful the oven is hot”. But the only way for him to get the lesson is by burning his fingers once. As a parent it is my job to create the circumstances in which he can learn and burn his fingers only a little.

Doing things is the only way to advance, and when you do things mistakes are inevitable. That is why you have to set things up in a way that ensures getting burnt will be a learning experience and not something that takes you out of the game.

I try to constantly apply this idea to my life. Writing a post every day for 10 weeks is an example. It is challenging and easy to miss a day. But even if I do not succeed I will learn a bunch of things.

Taking small risks is the best way to learn. Risk slightly burning your fingers every day to maximise learning.

About the author

Ivo Oltmans
By Ivo Oltmans


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