Exploiting Mistakes for Good

Exploitation seems negative. In this case, it’s critically positive. As long as we can agree that you and everyone else walking the planet will be making errors in the future, it seems like the smartest choice we can make is to extract the most learning from them possible. In fact, that’s what the best performers in medicine, aviation, sport, military, and countless other industries do.

In an athletic context, there’s a chicken-or-the-egg phenomenon. Do the best athletes make the most effective adjustments from their errors or do those who make the most effective adjustments from their errors become the best athletes? While the verdict is being decided it seems like we ought to get busy with the latter.

Time and time again groups, industries, and teams that clear the way for transparent sharing of failures and errors out perform those who don’t. Best selling author, Matthew Syed, reinforces this claim in his text, Black Box Thinking, with the stark differences between the way the aviation industry and the medical industry treat failures.

The aviation industry, which used to be asymmetrically dangerous, has become one of the safest ways to move about the world because of its obsession with failure and feedback. Generally speaking failures are researched, shared, and learned from whereas the opaque nature of how medical errors are treated perpetuates an industry that has tragic injury and death rates without much talk or action taken.

If you’re riding solo, you ought to be on a fact-finding mission when you fall short. What happened? What about the process led to that failure? Would adjustments increase the likelihood of success in the future? If you’re on a team, you ought to make discussing and tending to short comings an open and safe process. If men and women don’t feel safe to fail, your team will likely cover up the most important information it needs to grow.

Logan Gelbrich   


6/3/19 WOD

Complete 3 rounds for quality of:

6-8 HSPU

:30 Handstand Hold


Then, AMRAP 6

10 Push Presses (95/75)

10 Toes-to-Bar

10 KB Swings (70/53)


At 6:00 minutes, take 7 minutes to find a heavy set for the following:

3 Power Clean

1 Push Press