Reminder: Mistakes Are Not A Sign of Stupidity


(Error image via Nick Webb)

Say it with me now: Mistakes are not a sign of stupidity. They are just human ways of learning. I think we completely lose our creative edge when we strive to always be perfect.

We need to remind ourselves nothing is ever complete or perfect. Everything is usually a work in progress. I have a practice I have done for years that helps me continue to be a better designer.

After I finish installing any job, I silently spend 15 minutes walking around the event with one question in mind: “If I had to do this again, what wound I have done differently?” I never do this to put my work or myself down–just to ask a frank and simple question. Then, I follow up with my main designers and ask them the same exact question.

It’s amazing how this simple practice keeps me fresh and interested in my work. Yes, I have always said that I could write a book called Preston Bailey’s Screw Ups. I strongly think the art of going from good to great lies in your human ability to learn form your errors.

Can you readily accept your mistakes and move on? What can you do to learn to be more gentle with yourself? When you make a mistake, how do you handle this with your clients?