I’m a big fan of Atul Gawande’s writing, and have previously written about his work on instructional coaching.

Yesterday, he gave an impressive commencement address on “Failure and Rescue” at Williams College.

You can read it here (and I’d strongly encourage you to do so), but here’s my quick summary and his ending:

He points out that perhaps we don’t need to encourage people to take risks and make mistakes — we all are going to have our fair share of failures no matter what. The key, though, is in planning for that possibility and what we do with it:

So you will take risks, and you will have failures. But it’s what happens afterward that is defining. A failure often does not have to be a failure at all. However, you have to be ready for it—will you admit when things go wrong? Will you take steps to set them right?—because the difference between triumph and defeat, you’ll find, isn’t about willingness to take risks. It’s about mastery of rescue.

I’m adding this to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures.