Making mistakes in pursuit of your goals is an unavoidable part of the process. Some folks are afraid to make any mistakes at all and the result is they don’t take enough chances, embrace risk and try new things, which ultimately limits their chances of being successful. That being said, I think that you need to do your best to commit to only making new mistakes.
Defining a new mistake is really the key issue. Often thought leaders come up with ideas that appear new (because they may be new to them) and decide to move forward in an aggressive way to see if the idea has legs. We tend to favor our own ideas (if we don’t think they’re brilliant than who else would, right?).
Realizing that although an idea may be new to us there’s a pretty good chance someone has come up with a very similar concept and may have learned a thing or two along the way that could be beneficial to us. What I’d suggest is for thought leaders who come up with something “new” (and by the way there isn’t a group on the planet that comes up with more ideas than thought leaders do) is to assume someone has already done it before and invest some time and energy into researching if that is the case.
The objective shouldn’t be to dismiss your idea as one that isn’t worthy, but to seek out mistakes that others have made doing something comparable. If you can eliminate making the same mistakes that others have done and commit to only making new mistakes you will be able to fail faster AND succeed faster. It may sound like a contradiction but actually it isn’t. Focus on allowing yourself to make new mistakes, to build on what others have learned and to constantly tweak and adjust your ideas along the way.
A simple way to do this is to ask yourself, “If I do X and it is a mistake, would it be a new mistake or just a new mistake to me?” If it would only be new to you it isn’t a mistake worth making – commit to finding a better one.