JOB SEARCH TIP: We don’t really learn from our failures—insights from Dr. Clifton

19 Aug


I had blown it. I made a big mistake at work, and was now in the office of my boss, Don Clifton. I apologized, and promised I would “learn from this experience”.

He said: “You know, Mark, we really don’t learn from our experiences.”

I had no idea what he meant.

Then he said: “We often keep making the same mistakes, so we don’t learn from our experience. But we have a chance to learn if we take time to reflect on our experiences.”


This is great advice for any time in your life, but is particularly important if you are in the job search. Look back and reflect on your experiences. See if any patterns emerge as to when you have not been as productive, when you’ve failed. I reflect by writing, but you can reflect with your coach or former work colleagues.

When an interviewer asks about this, and they probably will, you will demonstrate that you have an awareness of your past mistakes and have thought about managing them.

Reflecting can help.

The posts for the next couple weeks are inspired by a man who inspired me, Donald O. Clifton.

There are free training videos on the web site of my faith community:

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