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Friday, March 4, 2022

Lean Quote: A Mistake that Makes You Humble is Better

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Perhaps a sin that humbles you is better than a good deed that makes you arrogant.  —  Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

Perhaps a better way to think of this quote is: 

“A mistake that makes you humble is better than an achievement that makes you arrogant.” 

Learning from errors and mistakes seems to be the mantra of our time. Lean Thinking has turned the ability to experiment and quickly learn from mistakes into a core competence for the early 21st Century. Studies also show that people who learn from errors are more creative, more resilient and show higher performance in volatile work environments. 

But learning from errors is easier said than done. So many people become defensive when something goes wrong and avoid talking about it. The fear is too great to look stupid or to be blamed for making the mistake. As a result, we rather analyze successes than failures, which hinders the learning from mistakes. 

People who effectively learn from mistakes share one common characteristic: humility. Humility is a willingness to view oneself accurately, a displayed appreciation of others’ strengths and contributions, and teachability. 

Humble people are willing to see themselves accurately and appreciate feedback. Errors and mistakes provide feedback on one’s own actions. So humble people see value in errors and the information that they provide for their own learning. This gives them an edge over others. 

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