Every person, no matter how bright or slow he is, learns some facts quickly and has trouble with others.Those he learns easily require little outside help. It is the troublesome fact, the error-causing fact, the fact that blocks the road to understanding that we must concentrate upon.The telltale symptom of trouble, of course, is a mistake in your work. Most people are troubled by such mistakes. They do not realize that if they are handled correctly, they are worth their weight in gold.Why? Because a mistake is actually nothing more or less than a signpost in your work that identifies misunderstanding.And by analyzing what went wrong in each of those mistakes, and correcting it, you will achieve a far deeper level of understanding and competence than you could ever gain without them.This is perfectly in accord with prime rule of all self-improvement – work on weaknesses. Your strengths you will always have. But your weaknesses must be identified and gone over and over again until they are no longer there.Let us therefore examine this technique of turning a mistake into gold. It is as simple this:HOW YOU CAN PROFIT FROM YOUR MISTAKESIt is never enough for you simply to glance at a test when it is handed back to you and notice that you have made an error on it.For every test error (or any error on any work) that you make, you must be able to answer these three questions about that error before you go on to new work:Where in the problem did you make the mistake?What did you do wrong that caused you to make that mistake?What is the correct operation that will avoid that same kind of mistake in the future?Let’s see how these three questions turn errors into accomplishments.STEP ONE: LOCATE THE ERRORFor example, let’s say that you come up with a wrong answer in a profit and loss problem.You know that the answer is wrong, but where exactly did it go wrong?Was it a mistake in multiplication or subtractions, or addition inside the problem?Was it only one mistake or several?To find out, break the problem down into steps. Check each step to find out which one went wrong. Don’t rest till you can pinpoint the exact step where each error occurred.STEP TWO: FIND OUT WHAT CAUSED IT:Now, when you’ve located the exact spot where the error occurred, you have to identify its cause.Let’s say that it was a mistake in one of your percentages. You took a 47% mark-up on $500 worth of goods, and came up with a sales price of $745.What caused you to make this mistake?Was it simply carelessness? Or is that mistake a warning that you’re weak in your multiplication?STEP THREE: CORRECT THE CAUSE OF THE ERRORIf it was carelessness, review again the techniques of checking an answer to make sure its right.If, however, you do show a weakness in multiplication, stop everything and review multiplication. Do it over and over again until it becomes automatic and automatically right.Remember, you have to correct the cause of an error before you can permanently correct the error itself. If you do not correct the cause first, the error will simply repeat itself later on.STEP FOUR: CORRECT THE ERROR ITSELFNow take a fresh sheet of paper. Copy the problem onto that paper and work it again.This time it should come out right. If it does, file it away and come back to it the following week. Try it again on a fresh piece of paper.If you get it right again, then you can forget about it. If not, do it again. Never allow yourself to make the same mistake twice!STEP FIVE: DO SIMILAR PROBLEMS TO MAKE SURE YOU’VE GOT THE CORRECT TECHNIQUEAt the same time, give yourself several other mark-up problems. Concentrate on them. Within a short time you’ll have mastered them all, and the correct answers will flow from your pen, with perfect confidence.