Why don’t people learn from their mistakes? Read this article, “Why most people don’t learn from their mistakes” and you will learn about which prisoners and which heart surgeons continued to learn and get better and which prisoners and surgeons feel bad about their mistakes and fail to learn and therefore repeat their mistakes and ultimately continue to fail in the future.
“First, if we want to learn from our mistakes, we need to learn to depersonalize them, to look at our actions, whether or not circumstances out of our control may have contributed to the problem. The only thing we can change is what we do. And guilt, for all its faults, can be helpful for this, so long as we don’t let it turn into personal shame.
The second is that learning from others’ mistakes is a lot more effective than trying to learn from our own. Our human tendency to make things personal fogs our ability to pinpoint actions that could make us better. As dark as it sounds, someone else’s mistakes can make us stronger, whether or not it kills them.” Shane Snow
Those who felt shame for their failures, tended to blame outside circumstances or external reasons for their failure, “the patient was too weak or too old to recover, the patient would have died anyway.” By failing to take personal ownership for the failure, the prisoner or the surgeon continued to do the same thing, resulting in the same outcomes, the prisoner returning to jail and the surgeon accepting the same ongoing mortality rate in patients. Wanting to feel good about themselves, they blame everything but themselves and therefore never learn.
Those who learned from their mistakes took ownership for the consequences of their actions, didn’t cloud the issues by shifting blame and were willing to learn from those mistakes and develop new habits and actions.
It is not surprising to connect this truth with Jim Collin’s “Five Tier Leadership Hierarchy”, which says that the most effective leaders are those who are humble enough to be lifelong learners, willing to change and learn, avoiding the plague of being full of themselves.