Mistakes, are they really a learning opportunity?

I’ve written a few posts on mistakes recently and their importance on our learning.

But it occurred to me that we only ever learn from our own mistakes, and that other peoples mistakes which should be a great source of learning, seem to add no value.

When others make mistakes, outside of our area, we usually think, how stupid why did he do that, we very rarely think, thats a great lesson,  we just assume that we would never have done that.

It also got me thinking about lessons learned reports, I have written hundreds of them, but I don’t think I have ever read or been offered a lessons learned report that’s been written by anyone else.

When joining new companies they should provide us a with a handbook of common mistakes made, so we could learn from them.
However, I do doubt that they would be read.

This isn’t just restricted to professional life, its also true of our private lives too.

Our parent could teach us so much from their mistakes, but it seems each generation has to make the same mistakes themselves in order to learn.

I distinctly remember my father telling me he wouldn’t do it that way before just before I made a complete mess on several occasions. And as all things are with my own father, I know of several occasions on which I have tried to let my own son benefit from my multitude of learnings from what were often painful mistakes, but to know benefit.

If anyone has a solution to this please let me know.