Well, it’s not the title of the next book by Chetan Bhagat! It’s the title of a virtual book that I have been writing for myself. It’s about celebrating every mistake that I make!

Hold! This is not going to be some “be positive” fanfare, but a practical tip to flip your mistakes upside down to sharpen your productivity further. Let us see how!

Let’s me narrate a couple of incidents:

  1. I was in the middle of a discussion with one of my coaching clients. I was making an important point and I saw a notification on my laptop about low battery. I realized that my laptop was not connected to power for quite some time. I decided to finish my point and then connect the laptop to power to avoid interruption. But I was interrupted eventually, although a few minutes later when the battery of my laptop drained fully and the meeting stopped abruptly – I had forgotten to connect the laptop to power! That was pretty embarrassing!
  2. I work on a remote Windows workstation somewhere in the USA, through a remote desktop connection from my laptop, sitting in India. I prefer to shut down my laptop (and all my machines) every day. I could have not shut down my remote machine as I would have to be dependent on someone to switch it on physically, the next day (I don’t have this issue with a Mac that I access remotely as I could configure it to start automatically at a specific time).

Well, on this particular day, thinking that I was shutting down my laptop I shut down the remote machine as both screens looked the same. I had to then request one of my colleagues in the USA to brave the peak of the pandemic, go to the office and restart my machine. That was pretty embarrassing!

It’s natural to get upset when you make such mistakes. You might want to even kick yourself, which is also fine. What we normally don’t see is that we have figured out a possibility of how a certain thing could go wrong. There is an opportunity to avert such occurrences in the future, the impact of which could be more disastrous than the current incident. And this perspective gives us the right to celebrate the mistake. But only if we seize the moment and take concrete action and not just take a mental note.

Let’s get this straight, nobody wants to repeat the mistakes intentionally. But at the same time, not many people take concrete steps to avoid the same mistake in the future, or at least not every time. Most often we end up savoring the gloom and self-loathing.

This is how you smile your way out of the gloom:

  1. Use the gloom as a signal to act. You may at times miss the signal, but I am sure if this happens the next time, there is a better chance of not missing it.
  2. Think of a practical idea that should help to avoid the same mistake in the future. It might not be easy always, but determination and sustained thinking should help us get there.
  3. Implement the idea right then, if possible, or else add a task for it to your to-do list.

Let’s get back to the two embarrassing incidents, I narrated before. In the first case, I added a checkpoint to my checklist of starting a video call – Ensure the laptop is connected to power. In the second case, I changed the Windows theme of my remote workstation and also moved the taskbar to the top edge of the screen, so that the two machines look different.

I did secure several of my ways of working like above, courtesy, the mistakes. It is yet to reach the mark of 1000, but I will be there someday ?

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(Originally published at  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/stay-organized-stay-productive/the-1000-mistakes-of-my-life/ on April 2, 2022)

(featured image: Photo by karatara from Pexels)