Oftentimes we only see the success of the world’s most wealthy and famous celebrities. What we don’t immediately recognize is the years of practice, preparation, and the hard work of learning from their mistakes that contributed to their ultimate success. Most entrepreneurs don’t start with the perfect idea. What they create is often the end result of a series of failures. NY Times reporter, Peter Sims, believes that entrepreneurs think of learning the way most people think of failure.
INVENTION and discovery emanate from the ability to try seemingly wild possibilities; to feel comfortable being wrong before being right; to live in the world as a careful observer, open to different experiences; to play with ideas without prematurely judging oneself or others; to persist through difficulties; and to have a willingness to be misunderstood, sometimes for long periods, despite the conventional wisdom. – Peter Sims
In a study conducted by Jason Moser, a psychology professor and expert in error-processing in the brain, he found that the more positive your attitude is towards making mistakes, the faster you will learn and correct the mistakes you’ve made. Even more important is that you will be even more accurate the next time you’re tested on what you originally got incorrect. If you have a negative attitude towards making mistakes, not only will it take you longer to correct errors, but you will end up making more of them. As it turns out, the learning centers in your brain are triggered twice when you make a mistake. The first time when you make the mistake, and the second when you think about the mistake that was made. This type of deep learning doesn’t happen when you get work correct.
Many students shy away from challenging schoolwork and get discouraged when they make mistakes. These students are at a disadvantage in both school and the workplace because they avoid the most difficult tasks, which also tend to be the most productive tasks for learning and growing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of your brain. Mistakes grow your brain, so embrace your failures, change your mindset, and find success.
Consider the following quote from author and New York Times columnist, Alina Tugend:
We are raising a generation of children (…) who are terrified of blundering, of failing, of even sitting with the discomfort of not knowing something for a few minutes.”
- What does this quote make you think about your comfort with learning?
- What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of failure?
- Describe one thing in which you have failed. What was one positive thing that came from this failure?