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How to Shake Off the Mistakes

How to Shake Off the Mistakes

Ethan Vizitei

Tip 3: Fix It Yourself

In the midst of the embarrassment, it can be hard to see anything positive coming from your own blunders. Don’t let them pass by, though; they’re such valuable learning opportunities.

Think about your own mistakes that you’ve made in the past. They stick out in your memory don’t they?

What about all the text books you’ve read? How do they stand out to you as far as being memorable?

Nothing teaches like experience, and right when you flub something up you have a golden opportunity to solder a permanent synapse into your brain. To maximize on this, don’t let someone else take over clean up.

In the example I gave with the extrication tool off my engine, I could have let someone with experience take over to do things the right way, and gone off to do something I was more familiar with.

What a waste it would have been.

By having the captain coach me through fixing the problem, I understood better what I had done, and became more familiar with the tool. For the next month, at every truck check, I made sure I was the one who was working with the extrication tool so I could continue building on what I’d already learned.

Don’t let your fear of a little teasing keep you from making the most of your errors. Fix it yourself, and get back on the horse next time.

Tip 4: Pass It On

Humans are unique among the animals in their ability to learn from other peoples mistakes. You don’t have to let those greener than you suffer through your same set of self-created problems.

Pass on your knowledge! You went through a lot to get it, it’s worth something to the newer guys.

I’ll give you another personal example: Exiting an apparatus, I always use three points of contact and never just jump down at a scene. It’s not because the training Powerpoint on apparatus safety was all that memorable, it’s because one of my instructors in recruit class told us in detail about a bad ankle injury he got while jumping off a fire truck on a scene.

He was on disability for weeks. Using this story, he made sure that everybody else didn’t have to break their ankle too to figure this one out. Mistakes are great learning material, and I have a hundred other examples like that I could give you. Great teachers instruct from experience.

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