I first came across this expression when I was working as a door supervisor (Bouncer) at a night club.  I guy I had let in was on the banned list and I missed it - he got thrown out and I was beaten up - by myself for making such an error!  A colleague came up to me and said “mate, don’t worry about it, Monkeys sometimes fall out of trees…”  Initially I didn’t get what he meant but eventually I got it and it stuck with me ever since.

If a creature that has evolved over millennia to its environment can make a mistake (and fall out of its tree) then so can we - mistakes happen.  It doesn’t mean we don’t try to avoid and reduce them but the key thing is what we do as a result. 

That night I realised I had a choice; Huff about, ruminating over what’s just happened or worry about the future (I thought I was gonna get a rollicking from the boss).  Or learn from it, take ownership, be thankful that others were able to see what I didn’t, and use it to become a better person - to become a more useful and effective member of the team rather than focusing on the only time I’d made such a mistake.

It was one of those seemingly inconsequential moments in life but has clearly stayed with me (it was about 20yrs ago).

For me now it represents a principle that I’ve regularly applied in life to stay focused on learning from the mistake. To gain a win from a loss and grow as a result.

When it came to creating and naming this project it just made sense to use this expression.  We are all capable of making mistakes - you could almost say its inevitable.  Not learning from them, not proactively working to reduce or negate them - that’s a choice and one we all have the ability, and willingness to make.  However there are a host of factors that can impede our ability to be the person we wish to be.   Attending to these factors can create improvements in mental clarity, objectivity and allow us to better manage self limiting beliefs and habits.  

At first this project was about reducing mistakes but I quickly came to realise that the same proactive approach could enhance outcomes for clients, staff and organisations as well as reduce mistakes and improve procedural adherence.   That we can use it to protect and upgrade judgement making skills as well as repair weak ones.


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Authorjp Edgington