SPECKS OF LIFE: Moving beyond mistakes

FRED LUMBA - edge davao
FRED LUMBA – edge davao

As humans, we are all subject to err.

This is the imperfection that God made perfect for us.

It does no follow though that the errors – and mistakes – that we commit cannot be rectified as to be able not to move forward.

This is the lame excuse that defeatists usually offer when they surrender to the combined onslaught of truth and negativity.

I therefore offer some suggestions – both for our readers and our leaders – which might be very helpful as we journey through our earthly life.

Foremost, is the RECOGNITION of the mistake. The earlier it is realized, the better. To ignore the mistake results in procrastination and the consequent aggravation. Therefore, BE THE FIRST to acknowledge the mistake especially if you yourself committed it. Be reminded of a quote from Theodore Roosevelt who said: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

Second, criticisms will come immediately, whether constructive or destructive. BE OPEN. Entertain suggestions because one or two of them might be the correct answers or keys to solve and rectify the mistake. Sometimes, just a practical solution that is unheard of could be the best possible response.

Third, based on their applicability, make a checklist. By jotting down the strengths of each of the suggestion and by the process of elimination, you will discover which one has the strongest merit and the surest and safest rectifying move.

Fourth, get or form a team – two, three, four – of dynamic, creative people with an open mindset to help and stay with you. Believe that two heads are better than one. So, if you have four gents around, wouldn’t that build up your confidence?

Fifth, do not under-estimate the damage the mistake may eventually inflict. Usually, when you ignore its bad effects, the mistake grows – like a simple disease – from mere benign to malignant. Seen how the illegal drug trade grew into a menace?

Sixth, if you are the leader of a nation or a company executive or even just a plain human being working your way up the ladder of success, own up to the mistake. Don’t find a scapegoat to put the blame on. Instead, be brave and bold to take the bull by its horns. Get it?

Seventh, as you own up and admit your mistake, be humble enough to express your regret. Throw away the pride that usually brings down leaders and governments. I don’t want to sound religious but this you will read about in the Holy Book.

Eighth, seek the counsel of wise men. Gather the best minds that you can, the experts as well, who will diagnose the problem and the consequences. Do not ever be too self-confident because oftentimes you could overlook the gravity of the situation because of your “I’m good and capable” attitude. Look around. Search. There are people nearby who can provide sound ideas.

Ninth, solutions will come pouring in if you openly entertain feedback. Even unsolicited suggestions should be welcome as you can compare them with the solicited checklist. You will be surprised to see that unsolicited feedback sometimes contains the best solutions to rectify the mistake.

Tenth, and perhaps the last I can offer, is the institution of safeguards when the mistake has been rectified. Don’t forget this because when safeguards are not in place, the recurrence of that mistake is bound to happen. You cannot focus on what’s ahead and move forward if that mistake has not been secured with a fool-proof safeguard.

The thrill of correcting mistakes remains a mysterious element of decision-making. Unfortunately, only a handful of qualified men and women, leaders of government and nations are equipped with ingenuity and the right frame of mind, putting to risks their integrity as well as life and limb.

Read this. James Joyce, in his novel ‘Ulysses’, interestingly wrote: “A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” Cheers! (Email your feedback to fredlumba@yahoo.com.) Isaiah 50:10: “Who is among you that fears the Lord, let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!