Learning from your Mistakes: An Introduction

“Practice makes perfect.”

“Don’t give up, learn from your mistakes.”

This is my second attempt at creating a mounting for the electric drill. This one worked!
This is my second attempt at creating a mounting for the electric drill. This one worked!

Who hasn’t heard sayings like these from time to time? There’s another great saying: learn from the mistakes of others. This saying comes with a catch though – it assumes that there are relevant mistakes that others have made that we can actually observe, or at least find recorded somewhere, so that we can examine and learn from them.

In my own woodworking I have been blessed to be able to learn by reading of the mistakes of others. I subscribe to Good Woodworking Magazine, and I also subscribe to a number of email  newsletters. I sometimes find that some of the writers of these different kinds of publications will include discussions of their mistakes and how they resolved them. So, this is where this topic category on my blog finds its birth.


I believe that I should also share of my own experiences of having made mistakes and of rectifying them so that you, my readers, might have an opportunity to learn from them. I wish to be able to give back something that might be of value to someone else.

I’ve made plenty of blunders blunders, like using the grain in the wrong direction resulting in breakage. How I’ve gone about fixing mistakes like that may be of benefit to others.

More generally though – all of life is a learning experience. As I progress with my woodworking I might try something which I discover does work very well so I have to research more, or simply practice trial-and-error, until I come up with the best solution. An example is my bench hook (Moody, 2016) which works okay, but today when watching an episode of The Woodwright’s Shop I learned of a method of holding wood using easy to make jaws which is much better.

I always find myself inspired by the example of legendary inventor Thomas Edison who when challenged on his failure to invent the electric light bulb simply stated that he had just discovered 1,000 ways that didn’t work, and that each failure was a step towards success.

Like Thomas Edison we all must be persistent and patient, always willing to take risks and make mistakes, so that we can learn to become increasingly better in all that we do. I hope you enjoy this blog.

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