Don’t make the same mistake twice

Dear new developer,

“To err is human”. We all make mistakes.

A few years ago I was working on a contracting project with a new version control system. I didn’t take the time to understand all of the commands, but just dove in and started writing code. A few days in, my branch was weird and was missing some code present in a co-worker’s branch.

Turns out I’d been pulling down remote branches incorrectly and creating new branches instead. Whoops!

I made that mistake once, and never again. I corrected that mistake at two levels. First I learned the correct command. Second I learned that a version control system is worth spending some time getting to know. I invested some time learning about this system and how to perform common operations.

Ways you can avoid repeat mistakes:

  • when you make a mistake, make sure you understand what the mistake was
  • find out if there was a second or third level of the mistake, as I did above
  • write down your mistake, either publicly or privately, so that you and others can avoid it in the future

Mistakes happen, no one is perfect. But the goal is to always make new mistakes, not the same mistake again and again.



3 thoughts on “Don’t make the same mistake twice

  1. There’s a famous quote by Paulo Coelho — ‘And a mistake repeated more than once is a decision.’

    It may seem hard to live by such a view, but there’s a compound effect to fixing your mistakes “for real”, over the years. I would hate being as clumsy or hot-headed now at 37 as I was at 25… Nor do I fail to smile inside every time I use with some kind of ease or even mastery what used to be a hallmark “weakness” of mine… It’s too good a feeling to improve to let mistakes just walk away, plus it’s fun to investigate your own actions — the primary witness just can’t lie! haha.

    So, what I mean to say is great post!
    I like your practical approach, and making the effort to outline ways, solutions. Yours is a very nice blog! (and ‘real’ blogs pretty much own the “valuable online reading space” for me these days, so I do not mean this lightly). Thanks for that! 😉


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