Author: Vasco Gaspar
Co-Author: Pratibha Kujur
We live in a culture that devalues the power of errors. They are seen as “targets to be exterminated” or evils that should be “swept under the rug” as soon as possible. We even like pointing them out in others.
It is interesting though to scan through different cultures to have a fresh outlook about errors. In some culture, error is sought almost obsessively because it is seen to be as a valuable information needed for learning and growth. It is in fact a precious formula for success i.e., The want to make small mistakes + Failing fast = Learning fast. In these cultures, there’s no room for feelings of guilt over mistakes committed, because it is considered that people always do things within their reach, knowledge and environment constraints. Thus it makes no sense in feeling guilty over the mistake, instead it is more important to learn what the situation is trying to teach.
Have you ever thought that “good decisions are the result of a good sense, and the good sense is the outcome of bad decisions”? What if you, as a child when you were taking your first steps, had given up the first time you fell down? Or your parents had made comments like “you’ll never get anywhere walking like that.” Where do you think you would have been today?
For years, we have been taught by our surroundings that making mistakes are shameful but now it’s high time to include education about error in our culture. Obviously I am not speaking about focusing on the error, I am talking about the error to learn, grow and evolve; the error followed by discussion and awareness about how we can improve.
We are explorers by nature and we need to be confronted with new situations to develop new skills. Obviously we can and must prepare to acquire knowledge through various channels but, ultimately, it’s only by “trying our hands” that we’ll learn how does it really feel!
So next time when you’re faced with a challenge, take a small step forward and allow yourself to go wrong. But do not stop there… Be courageous to acknowledge the mistakes, learn from them and move on to make changes. See mistakes as “fertilizers” to your personal growth process.
Now, as parents, there’s no doubt that you witness your kids making mistakes many times. Just think how many wonderful opportunities your children are in fact getting to learn and expand their knowledge. Instead of pinning on them constantly to make them feel guilty, help them understand that “to err is human”and help them learn the lesson from the situations. Sometimes children commit the same mistakes several times but that’s not the end of the world! It just take them a longer time to imbibe the lessons because of so many new things they need to learn and retain simultaneously.
To conclude this topic, I would like to mention that some argue that if we not make a mistake at least twice a week, then we are not trying hard enough. In this sense, make mistakes, make them well and make them soon. But wait, do not rush to make the next error. First, learn from your mistake, take it as a “stamp” and paste it into your “book of life”, so that you can identify it and do not have to buy the same one again!
Photo credits: http://morguefile.com/