I bought my first car 10 years after I got my license and 10 years after I last drove a car. So believe me when I say the car dealer almost didn't get in for the test-drive after I told him this would be the first time I had driven in a decade.
Needless to say, the first month after I got my car, I was a lamb behind the wheel. I drove mostly on the extreme left lane, needed a 10-car length before filtering lanes, and refused to drive alongside big vehicles. I drove so cautiously, even the road hoggers would honk at me to get out of the way.
But the one thing that would send me to tears was parking. I would choose only lots that weren't sandwiched by cars and avoided malls that had infamously narrow lots. Don't even get me started on parallel parking.
Fortunately, I was stubborn.
I remember coming home one night and trying my hardest to park the car. On my 5th attempt at getting the darn car into the lot--while being watched by two rather amused drivers waiting for me to get into lot so they could drive past--my passenger suggested I picked a more secluded lot. To which I replied: "If I'm not embarrassed, why should you be?"
And that really has been one of the key philosophies I try to live by. If I suck at something, I'd acknowledge it and do what I can to improve--even if it means doing so while others ridicule my inability to fulfill the task well.
It ain't always easy to take the public mockery, I'd admit. But I try to talk myself through the humiliation by reminding myself that if I don't concede my failure, I would never be able to correct it.
And I feel this willingness to accept that we all make mistakes may be missing in the business world today. Organizations seem to prefer finger-pointing and taking potshots at their competitors. Sure, all that spitfire usually makes for great headlines. But I wonder if they spent as much time looking at what went wrong within their organization and identifying the loopholes that need to be plugged.
I've also observed that some of the younger generation, perhaps too used to the highly-connected fast-paced world we thrive in today, tend to be impatient and often indifferent. They prefer to take shortcuts, and often that means skimming through their work, because improving from their past mistakes and taking care not to repeat them would require time and effort.
Furthermore, their young ego assumes that admitting to any mistake would mean admitting to an inadequacy on their part.
But, there really is no such thing as a stupid question and absolutely no shame in making mistakes. After all, it was Albert Einstein who said: "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."