A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein
What does that mean?
How often do you make mistakes when you are doing something which you have mastered? When was the last time you fell down while walking? When was the last time you stabbed yourself in the face with a fork while trying to eat?
Excluding times of severe inebriation, most of us mastered those skills many years ago. We rarely make a mistake while walking or eating. We rarely make mistakes doing tasks or things which we have tried enough times to have mastered. And that’s what this quote is about.
If all you ever do are things you have already mastered, you will rarely, if ever, make mistakes. But that’s going to be a very boring life to live, won’t it? We make the most mistakes when we try something new. The less like anything else we’ve tried, the more likely we are to make mistakes.
Why is it important to learn from the mistakes we make??
It is believed that we learn more from mistakes than we learn from doing things correctly. More important than making the mistakes is learning from them. And right after that comes figuring out how to do better next time, because there will always be a next time, right?
We’ll ignore the silliness about bomb defusing and skydiving as being things where an error the first time leaves little room for a second try. If you’re going to be doing something that dangerous, you should be minding your risk, and practicing before hand. Make your mistakes with mock-ups or in a wind tunnel, right?
By learning from each mistake and pursuing the best possible course, we eventually find the sweet spot, and cease making mistakes. How often do professional sports players make mistakes? Most can do their drill in their sleep. But if they try to do something else, it will likely be just as funny as if we had.
We all make mistakes when trying new things. Yes, we might have a brief run of “beginners luck,” but after that, we’re flailing. Over time we learn and get better. That brings us back to the quote. If we never did anything new, we’d only be doing the things we are good at, and that means few mistakes.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Where in your life don’t you make mistakes? Where do you make a lot of mistakes? Do you pride yourself in not making mistakes, or are mistakes something you can make and still be able to handle with grace? These are questions I hope you will take some time to consider, as well as some time to answer.
Now that you have some ideas where in your life where you are highly competent and rarely make mistakes, I would ask you to think about when the last time was when you did something just a little different? Have you stretched, tried to do more, or get more bang for the buck, or are you complacent with what you have right now?
That doesn’t mean you have to abandon what you are doing, but have you looked around to see how others are doing it, and how you might do it better? What if you were an excellent crawler, but never learned to walk? Would it be worth changing your method of movement, even if it meant a lot of mistakes as you learn the new system.
What about the areas where you still make a lot of mistakes? Are you learning from each mistake, or are you just making the same mistake over and over again? I try not to do that, as I am easily bored. What can you try that would be a little different, and hopefully get you a better result? What can you learn from your last attempt? And the one before it?
And what about your pride? Are you graceful and gracious when you make a mistake, or do you get embarrassed and hide from even a minor goof up? If you are afraid to make a mistake, it’s going to be hard to learn, right? You’re going to be afraid to try new things, and you will have a hard time growing, right?
What is that belief based on? Why do you believe that making mistakes is a cause for embarrassment, rather than a learning experience? Most of the people you see who do difficult things without mistakes are very good at what they do. They got that way by practice and learning from their mistakes.
What would you do right now, if no one was looking and nobody would ever know you made a mistake? What if someone knew it was a mistake, but understood that mistakes are how we learn, how we get better? Could you make a little joke of it, and say “Gee, I guess I really messed that up!”?
Ultimately, it’s your life, and you will have to figure out what you are willing to do and not do. But I hope you look at making mistakes a little differently than you used to. Now go out there and screw something up!
From: Twitter, @LA_Reid
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins148788.html
Photo by jurvetson
Happy Father of Relativity day, as Albert Einstein was born 14 March, 1879. And, coincidentally, it also happens to be Pi day => 3.14!