At the end of Charles Swindoll’s “Attitude” poem, he writes, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so, it is with you … we are in charge of our attitudes.”

The best teams I work with react to negative data without emotion and take corrective actions to get what they want. I tell teams all the time that bad information is just information, and it’s going to happen repeatedly. It’s what you do with it that matters.

No one wants or plans bad information. Things happen, and that is part of life. We must master the skill to accept what is happening, assess it, and then react to it. Like a great scientist, just put the lab coat and safety glasses on. Assess the situation without getting emotional about it. Then collect the information and choose another course.

Success is never a straight line. We spiral into it, making corrections over and over again. When teams get good at this, I have seen them get a “mistake leaners high.” They get excited to do it again in a better way. They don’t take it personally but make it a personal challenge to take it on again.

As an inventor, Thomas Edison illustrates this concept perfectly. Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “how did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Great things take time and patience. What are you doing with your information? Are you getting better or giving up?

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