On Learning from Mistakes
On learning from mistakes is a continuation of the post on chaos and difficulty.
There is an extraordinary emphasis on the power of learning from mistakes in our world today. Hardly will you find any self-help book without traces of this advice. So, firstly, I think it is excellent advice. Unfortunately, however, it seems to have its shortcomings.
We would rather do something that someone has done that produced results rather than go through uncharted territories to find meaning or answers for ourselves. So in convincing people to buy my courses in the past, I encouraged them to learn from my mistakes.
Like I have said, there is nothing inherently wrong with learning from mistakes. However, it brings about a sort of limitation in the minds of the hearers, audience, or students. This means that for every problem or difficulty we come across, our first impulse will be to search for already laid down answers.
At the most basic form, the use of Google is mostly driven by the desire to find answers from what others have written, said, or done. We tend always to avoid the rigorous act of finding solutions ourselves. Of course, as noted earlier, there is nothing wrong with learning from other people’s mistakes, but what is the motivation behind it?
Are you doing it because it is an easier alternative?
Are you doing it to save time to enable you to focus on more complex things?
Are you doing it because you are afraid of making mistakes or being wrong?
Most often than not, we choose to learn from others’ mistakes because we do not want to make our mistakes or be wrong. Making mistakes is ego-threatening, especially if made in public. It reinforces the fact that we are frauds and are not good enough. Most importantly, it strengthens our assumption of what people might think about us.
In our lives, that evidence is mistakes. A mistake is valuable because it falsifies a prior assumption. Unlike a successfully cultivated behavior that may or may not lead you where you want to go, a mistake gives you a single raw point of actual data as to what not to do. Mistakes make you think.
What’s unfortunate about mistakes is that you have to make them. The only way to the data leads through failure. There is no way around this. We will all make many mistakes in our lifetimes. What differentiates us is whether we’re willing to learn from them. Are we willing to think? To sit with the mistake until we’ve extracted the data?
While it’s better to study the failures of the people around you than the successes of distant or unknown people, nothing beats independent inquiry. Gather your own data. Falsify your hypotheses. Dare to make mistakes.Niklas Göke on learning from mistakes
We are mostly not learning when we say we are learning from others’ mistakes. Instead, we avoid making our own mistakes by buying time for ourselves, hoping our chaos gets easier or disappears. Or that we somehow find answers to our chaos.
However, chaos is not chaos if it is easy or there is an answer already. Chaos is brutal – extremely. It presents only the problem – it doesn’t come with a map or manual or guide or clues. The only way is to walk through the chaos. To do this, you must be ready to accept your mistakes and embrace and learn from them.
Because of the uniqueness of man, our chaos is usually always almost unique per time. For instance, if you lose a significant other, there is no past question about dealing with such loss. People might share their experiences, advice, etc., but you are going nowhere until you choose to confront it yourself.
Hence, it would be best to never rely solely on learning from other peoples’ mistakes. Instead, it would be best if you made your mistakes as well, and until you embrace the chaos, you, my friend, will not make the mistakes that will shape your life forever.
Learning from mistakes is not limited to others’ mistakes. It should also include your mistakes. Get used to it.
to be continued…