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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Maker of Mistakes

The Beastie Boys fought for their right to party. I fought for my right to make mistakes.<...>

I wanted to share this short post with you that I wrote as the Foreword to an awesome e-book about entrepreneurship that a friend recently released

Here it is...


Professionally I consider myself an entrepreneur, but in life I'm much more a Maker of Mistakes. This is something that has become so entrenched in the way I live my life and the lessons I've learnt (from my mistakes) have empowered some incredible victories and successes.

As a child, I can remember arguing with my dad about having the opportunity to make my own mistakes, instead of being prevented to make them (in the spirit of staying safe). The reason I wanted to make mistakes, is I wanted to learn my own lessons. And I knew that the harder the lesson learnt, the more valuable it'd be in the long-term.

Years later, I've augment this mindset to also learn from others' mistakes, stories and experiences. This for me is a leaner way of learning, because I'm doing so vicariously through others.

This is why books such as Spills are so great: for a brief moment reading a sentence or a paragraph, you are exposed to someone else's lessons learnt. In most cases, that someone else is someone who has been there, done that and bought the T-shirt manufacturer afterwards.

So I'd challenge you to take these words, learn from them and instead of trying to emulate these mistakes and successes; evolve them, make them your own and craft your own version of a lesson learnt.


I might only know one way to learn or grow and making mistakes are obviously a failure when viewed from a certain perspective.

I might also mostly only know which mistakes not to repeat in future, instead of knowing which are the right decisions to make. That's part of this mindset too.

The one thing that I truly know though is that making mistakes has had a real impact on my personal development and my life.

I would not be much without the mistakes that I've made. It's both a great record of what I've learnt, but mostly a reminder of the things I've considered, tried and actually done.

(Oh, get a copy of that book. It's only $12.

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