How to learn from mistakes by weekly analysis

On February 2, 2011 by murat

From “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie (first published in 1937):

The president of an important Wall Street bank

once described, in a talk before one of my classes, a

highly efficient system he used for self-improvement.

This man had little formal schooling; yet he had become

one of the most important financiers in America, and he

confessed that he owed most of his success to the constant

application of his homemade system. This is what

he does, I’ll put it in his own words as accurately as I

can remember.

For years I have kept an engagement book showing

all the appointments I had during the day. My family

never made any plans for me on Saturday night, for the

family knew that I devoted a part of each Saturday evening

to the illuminating process of self-examination and

review and appraisal. After dinner I went off by myself,

opened my engagement book, and thought over all the

interviews, discussions and meetings that had taken

place during the week. I asked myself:


‘What mistakes did I make that time?’


‘What did I do that was right-and in what way

could I have improved my performance?’


‘What lessons can I learn from that experience?’


“I often found that this weekly review made me very

unhappy. I was frequently astonished at my own blunders.

Of course, as the years passed, these blunders became

less frequent. Sometimes I was inclined to pat

myself on the back a little after one of these sessions.

This system of self-analysis, self-education, continued

year after year, did more for me than any other one thing

I have ever attempted.

“It helped me improve my ability to make decisions

 - and it aided me enormously in all my contacts with

people. I cannot recommend it too highly.



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