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December 12, 2007

Chris Brogan has posted about managing failure on his tumblr. This made me think about something that got me in trouble with some ex-workmates when I was undertaking a ‘Sandwich Year’ during an Electronics Engineering Diploma. The Sandwich Year was a 12 month paid workplacement between two academic years, and I spent my time with what was known as Esso Research near Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

During this year, I had various visits from one of the Lecturers during which I filled out a review form. I actually wrote an off hand comment that was actually very important but completely misunderstood. I recovered from the misunderstanding, but the comment has stuck with me for the last twenty years.

I wrote, ‘Before I came here I did not understand that Engineers learn by making mistakes‘. You can see why it was taken the wrong way. The meaning was that I had not worked in Engineering before and did not understand how learning worked. What I understood from my exposure then and this has continued throughout my working life, is that the best lessons learned are those that you hurt from – the mistakes. The key is always in learning from all of your mistakes and sometimes from those rare successes šŸ™‚

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