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Stairway to Success: The Complete Blueprint for Personal and Professional Achievement by Nido R. Qubein

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17

LEARNING AND APPLYING

If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.

—M. H. ALDERSON

We learn by doing. Think about the basic skills you’ve acquired in life. You learned to walk by pulling yourself up, turning loose, and taking a step. You fell the first time, but you got up and tried again. Each time you did it a little better than the time before. You were learning by doing.

Somebody may have told you how to tie your shoes, but you didn’t really learn it until you had tried it yourself. You made mistakes at first, but eventually your fingers learned to do the task unconsciously. You learned to ride a bicycle by getting on and riding it. You learned to drive a car by taking one out on the highway with an experienced teacher who could give you instructions and point out your mistakes as you drove.

PRODUCTIVE MISTAKES

With each endeavor, you started as a novice, and you learned proficiency from the mistakes you made. It’s that way in any undertaking. When you begin taking action toward your goals, you will make mistakes. Don’t worry about it. Everybody makes them. Successful people learn from theirs. They know the difference between a productive failure and a nonproductive success.

In a productive failure, you don’t achieve your objective, but you come away with new knowledge and understanding that will increase your chances of success on the next try. A nonproductive success occurs when you achieve your objective, but you’re not sure what it was you did right. ...

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