Wednesday, January 14, 2009


"To Bush, they were not mistakes -- just disappointments."

Dana Milbank, "Where Some See Mistakes, He Sees Disappointments," The Washington Post, January 13, 2009.

We can learn from mistakes. A feeling of disappointment teaches only that the world has once again thwarted our success. Nothing to be learned here, except not to try, or in the case of Bush, to denounce the roadblocks to success.

To be fair, the hardest thing to do is to admit and own your mistakes in the moment. It's much easier to see someone else's errors. At a recent meeting about CED and Mistakes, we noted our clarity about mistakes that were 5-10 years old, or older. Simply, we need time for our emotions to settle, for the dust to clear,and for the past to lose its bite in light of what comes next.

Jerome Groopman in How Doctors Think argues that we can prevent a range of cognitive errors that await us through recognizing the types of errors and being willing to ask questions. Still, errors will happen.

So,maybe we have to wait a few years. Cheney won't budge, I fear, denial and fighting back a badge of honor. But there's a chance that Bush's disappoints will grow into a recognition of failure.

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