Learn from your mistakes

“We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2).

We all make mistakes. Do you wallow in yours, or do you learn from them? 

A junior executive at IBM lost over ten million dollars in a risky venture. He was called into the office of Tom Watson Sr., the founder of IBM. 

The junior executive asked, “I guess you want my resignation?” 

Watson replied, “You can’t be serious. We’ve just spent $10 million educating you.”*

IBM’s founder knew what he was doing. We can learn from our mistakes. We can consider them an investment in our education. They are often a painful investment, but an investment nevertheless. 

What if you thought of your own mistakes in a similar way? What if you saw them as educational investments?

It can be helpful to take some time and make a mental list of some of your big mistakes (or even small ones). I know, I know. Sounds super fun, right? But it could be a very productive exercise.

Make a list—even a mental list—and then ask yourself: ‘What did I learn from this?’ Ponder it as you go for a drive, walk, or have a bit of down time.

Saul (later named Paul) oversaw the death of Christians. He would learn a lesson about misplaced zeal. Peter denied Christ. He would learn a lesson about loyalty under pressure. (More on that in the next devotional.)

Failure doesn’t disqualify you, it educates you.

Think of your mistakes as an educational investment. 


–“Failure doesn’t disqualify you.” Sermon. Click here to watch or listen. April 23, 2023. 

–*As told in: Andy Stanley, Next Generation Leader (New York: Multnomah, 2003), 56. 

–Bible quotes are from the NIV. 

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