Drink the poison – Why in work it’s important to forget your mistakes quickly

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A line often used by legendary Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, ‘drink the poison’ is what he refers to when players make mistakes in football matches. At the top level of elite football, mistakes are magnified and replayed throughout the world on television and Social Media.

He believes the absolute top players are the ones who can make a mistake in a match and then forget it almost instantly and carry on as if nothing has happened. This then allows them to maintain performance at such a high level because they are not then worrying about making another mistake, being weighed down by the previous one.

The players are able to ‘drink the poison’ and remain unaffected.

But forgetting your mistakes quickly is not an easy thing to do. In a high pressure situation such as a football match, if you make a mistake there is a good chance you will quickly get a chance to make up for it and put it behind you.

If only that applied to life in general. Sometimes you make a mistake and there’s no going back. But we can often learn from our mistakes, reflecting on them, and thinking about what we can take away from them to inform our future decisions.

But it could be argued that from a work perspective, forgetting mistakes quickly is essential to develop, as it will not hinder you from trying new things and being worried by the consequences of making a mistake to many.

The way I have always looked at mistakes is that as long as you are not making the same mistake again and again then don’t be afraid of making them. Growth happens when you come out of your comfort zone. We all make mistakes, and everyone had to begin somewhere. If you are not willing to make mistake then you’ll never learn.

Drink the poison and carry on anyway.

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