SELF-CORRECTION means the ability to initiate change and evaluate the results.

It means you ask for feedback and have a mindset that it is about problem solving, not about the need to be right.

It means being able to see when you have developed a non-productive pattern in your behaviour, or being able to say: "I think this approach isn't working, I'd better try something different."

Self-correction is based on negative feedback. When things are going well, you generally don't think about changing anything.

It is only when something goes wrong, or you recognise the potential for it going wrong, that you decide to make corrections.

This is the phenomenon of negative feedback - feedback that is based on receiving negative information.

A very simple example is the big toe on your right foot. You probably were not thinking about it until I mentioned it.

If you had stubbed your toe just now and it was throbbing, you would be thinking about it and how to take care of it. That is the principle of negative feedback.

It seems unfortunate but true that people learn mainly by making mistakes.

Mr Buckminster Fuller was an architect, inventor and philosopher. His most well known contribution was the geodesic dome. In the many books he wrote in his later life, one theme was constant.

He emphasised repeatedly that human beings learn only through mistakes. The billions of human beings in history have made quadrillions of mistakes - that is the only way we have arrived at the knowledge that we have.

He also pointed out that humans might have been so mortified by the number of mistakes they have made that they would have become too discouraged to continue with the experiment of life.

But fortunately, we have a built-in sense of pride in the fact that we can learn, and we have the gift of memory that allows us to keep somewhat of an inventory on our mistakes. That prevents us from repeating all of them over and over again.

When you possess the trait of self-correction - sometimes it is called "course-correction" - you are able to learn from your mistakes.

You also get better at spotting the need for change before disaster strikes.

It is similar to being able to monitor symptoms of illness in your body before they turn into serious problems.

"I made a mistake", "I went off on a tangent", or "I got off on the wrong foot" - these are ways of acknowledging that you tried something that didn't work out as you had planned.

If you find that you are not saying those kinds of things very often, or at all, it might mean your versatility is low, or it might mean you are not trying anything new.

As Mr Fuller said, it is the reason we were given two feet - to make a mistake first to the left and then to the right and over and over again.

It is only by self-correcting at every step you take that you are able to walk in a somewhat straight direction.