Humans Make Mistakes


Humans Make Mistakes

Years ago when I joined a large organization, I walked into my new office. There on my desk was a gorgeous new computer. Hanging on the monitor was a note that read:

“I really hate this machine, I wish that I could sell it. It never does what I want it to, it only does what I tell it.”

The blame game just doesn’t cut it. People need to take responsibility for the things that happen around them. That’s why we should never give advice. If someone is undecided and they ask you what you think, maybe it’s best to point out the best of both opportunities. If you simply say, “What I’d do…” they only get an idea of what YOU would do and it doesn’t help them make a critical decision. What is so much more helpful is to walk them through the decision making process. That way they get to THEIR conclusion rather than what “you’d do.” When someone goes a round asking everyone for their input, it’s like what we did back in high school to ensure that our home-life experience was within the norm.

Kids that hung out together used to say things like: “My mother would never let me …” – this meant that perhaps your own mother wasn’t as strict as you thought she was. If you ask someone what they think, be sure you understand why you’re asking. Do you want and respect their viewpoint? Will they be truly honest? Are they really thinking about you or about how they would behave? And when you finally take someone’s viewpoint and it goes wrong, do you blame them? Or do you realize that it was your choice after all and that human error is truly human. We can learn from being as human as we can be.

So I didn’t sell the machine. I simply learned to ask, “What did I do wrong?”

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