Never blame yourself for past mistakes

When I was working as a consultant with McKinsey, one day, the client walked into our room and said, “Guys, I know you are doing cost-cutting and all. But I want to tell you a story.”

He told us that when Sony acquired Columbia Pictures, a movie production company, they sent a team to figure out how to make Columbia more profitable.

The Sony team looked at the movies Columbia produced and said, ‘Most of your revenue comes from a few blockbuster movies. And you lose a lot of money on the flops. So stop making the flops and only make blockbusters’ 🙂

Our client then said, “To make blockbuster movies, you need the room to experiment even if it means a few flops. So when you give your cost-cutting recommendations, don’t take away the room for experimentation.”

His advice was good and holds true even for us in our daily lives. Quite often, I hear the question – “What would you do differently if you had to go through your life decisions again?”

It is the same as analyzing Columbia’s movies – if you could live backward, you would make no mistakes. But the problem is that we can’t live our life backward. And when you look forward, you don’t know whether a decision will be right or wrong.

We can live only one way – looking forward. So don’t blame yourself for past mistakes. The mistakes are the cost of doing great things.

It takes many flops to do a blockbuster.

– Rajan

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