When Will This Madness Stop?!!

When Will This Madness Stop?!!

There is a terrible conspiracy that intelligent people are proliferating with incredible tenacity. I listened to them 50 years ago when I was a young entrepreneur. Garbage like ‘To succeed in life or business you have to make mistakes,’ was a lesson I quickly learnt was for ‘the bird brains.’ This has been bandied about for decades. Just think about it for a moment.

How many mistakes do you have to make to fail your exams, which ruin all your plans for your future? How many mistakes does a pilot have to make before he or she kills hundreds of people in one go and destroys an airliner that cost $120 million or more. How many mistakes does a company or entrepreneur have to make to destroy all they have? How many mistakes do space engineers have to make to kill an entire space grew and destroy a shuttle that costs $1.7 billion to build, ouch!! How many times do you have to search for a number on your mobile phone while driving before you kill someone or kill yourself in an avoidable road accident?


Again, and again I hear someone crying because they failed in their business or lost their job or lost a contract, race or tournament and now looking for somebody to blame.

I say, “why on earth did you do that?”

“I thought I had to test my ideas,” they say.

“You must have known this was doomed to failure before you started,” I say.

“Yes, but I have to make mistakes to succeed, everyone knows that.”

“Who says so,” I ask, knowing full well what their reply will be.

“All the business and personal development guru’s, and life coaches say so,” they say.

Originally, what Henry Ford said at a business conference in Chicago, was, “To succeed in business, always learn from your mistakes and never do that again.” 

Please, please, please there is a gap as wide as the Grand Canyon between the mistakes you will inevitably make because of a fast changing world, and the mistakes you are capable of avoiding, via knowledge, experience and expertise. Yes we learn from our mistakes or I hope you do, but it is far more profitable to learn from other people’s experience not their mistakes. What is worse is that the same mistakes are repeated continually also invariably expensive in one form or another as demonstrated above. When Roger Federer lost to Novak Djokovic at a major tournament in 2014. A reporter asked Federer what went wrong. Federer replied simply, “Djokovic made fewer mistakes,” one way of saying he was the better player.

Even little mistakes can have big consequences. Our world is so connected unless you have an isolated R & D facility, so your mistakes stay isolated, Please, Please, Please Stop this Madness and stop making avoidable mistakes.

Certainly if you have a hobby you may test ideas and make mistakes, and yes you may discover something interesting. If you like cooking and experiment with an idea and it turns out simply awful, well, okay it ends up in the trash can and like Henry Ford said, you have learnt not to do that again, and hopefully no one gets hurt.

In the carpentry world, for hundreds of years if not thousands,  there has been an expression that says, ‘measure twice and cut once.’ It means think twice and avoid a costly mistake. Imagine you are building a cathedral in the 17th century and you cut a massive beam too short so it cannot span the gap it was intended for. The beam is ruined, you are in deep trouble and a lot of people’s day is ruined. So think twice before you speak and ruin someone’s day and maybe yours too.

Slow down, more hast less speed.

So How Do You Make less Mistakes?

Measure twice and cut once is not just a centuries old carpenter’s friend. It is the same action plan that multinational corporations employ in their board rooms and down to their R &D departments or wherever they develop their new ideas to ensure their company’s future and success.

Most world changing and highly profitable ideas frequently start off life as a crazy idea or no hope concept. Then someone with their brain focused on the future not the past or present thinks maybe there is something in the idea. So it gets the green light for its development. Then the hard and tedious work of planning, research, creation and examining the detail of the detail of the detail until other than its atomic half-life the company know and understand everything there is to know about the idea, the concept and the product. They know everything from how to make it to who wants to buy it and what they are prepared to pay for it. They add into the mix, the best marketing campaign. But first the marketing company goes through exactly the same process of measure twice and cut once. This is how you create fewer mistakes and more success. How many adverts do you see on the TV and wonder what on earth they were tying to sell, or do they turn you off rather than switch you on.

Do the same with yourself, your job, your family and your friends and you should be more successful, have less regrets and perhaps be a lot happier with your life.

Just remember, slow down- measure twice and cut once – more hast less speed. Albert Einsteien said, “Anyone can know something, it is understanding it that makes the difference that creates success and stops mistakes.” Success is in understanding the detail of the detail before you get into the action.

When will the Madness Stop, just think to measure twice and cut once.

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