Over the years, I’ve developed great appreciation for small mistakes that cost us some reasonable amount of pain or money in the short term. While some of these mistakes are indicative of a high volume of experimentation or bias for action, many may simply be errors of judgment.
Regardless of the variant, they should be welcomed because small mistakes help us avoid big mistakes. By removing any false sense of over confidence from being temporary flawless and by giving us an opportunity to learn from them, small mistakes can be valuable if we take the time to reflect on them and improve our processes.
Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment. And, small mistakes are just opportunities from life to improve our judgment.
PS: Of course, a steady stream of small mistakes also become a useful pipeline of content if you’re writing a daily learning blog. :-)
A simple question to measure how reasonable we really are – when was the last time we changed a decision when the facts/assumptions changed?
And, a bonus – when was the last time we wished we’d changed a decision when the facts/assumptions changed?
The answers to both those questions tend help us calibrate how reasonable we actually are.
The best leading indicator to good judgment is the desire to see things as they are versus how we want them to be.
Our ability to do so follows this desire. And, just as we can only design airplanes once we understand how the atmosphere really works, we can only shape reality once we understand it.
Good intentions are great. They matter a ton.
But, good judgment matters more.
Every once a while, we meet individuals who combine good judgment with good intentions. Such people are rare. If you’ve found somebody like that, stick around.
Good judgment comes from soaking in lessons from others’ experience, experimenting and reflecting on one’s own experiences and squeezing every drop of learning out of previous displays of bad judgment. This is hard. And, for many, it shows up long after they most most need it.
People often think they want to work with and build relationships with people with good intentions. That is true and assumes good judgment. But, given a choice between the intent-judgment combination, I’d index higher on folks with good judgment. There have been many great entrepreneurs and business leaders who’ve demonstrated great judgment even if they weren’t the bastions of good intention. I’d rather work with them than with someone who cares but has no idea about what they’re doing.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions and bad judgment.