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Benefits of Making a Mistake – Photo by Tim Gouw on

Benefits of Making Mistakes

Yesterday I made a mistake. I accidentally posted a draft version of a blog I was working on and it was a mess. I was not focused on what I was doing, my thoughts were elsewhere. I was not practising what I preach – I was not being mindful and this caused me to make a careless error.

This mistake made me feel shame and embarrassment. In the scheme of things, this was not a significant mistake, I did not hurt anyone, nothing was damaged or broken however, the feelings of shame were intense. I had to keep reminding myself that making a mistake gives us the opportunity to learn and grow. I am not alone most people hate making mistakes. 

My mistake got me thinking and I decided to have another look at psychologist Carol Dweck book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,

Dweck encourages us to see learning as a process and making mistakes is part of that process.  It is not about getting everything correct, the focus is on developing the tools to learn. Our brains develop when we make a mistake and think about the mistake. Making a mistake can be the cause of embarrassment and frustration. However, mistakes are not to be avoided, because they are a fundamental part of the learning process.

Mistakes shouldn’t be feared but embraced. 

I realise my embarrassment stems from my feelings as a child, my false belief if you got something wrong it meant you were not intelligent. My belief was intelligence was fixed and making mistakes would demonstrate that I was not smart enough. Growth Mindset challenges this notion. We now know that intelligence can develop and grow. We can all become disappointed and embarrassed when we experience failure. It is not failing that is important, it what you do afterwards, how we move forward and learn from the failures and mistakes.

Growth Mindset encourages us to embrace failure as a fundamental part of the learning process and knowing mistakes and failures can be used positively as opportunities for development, creative thinking and growth. Growth Mindset gives us the confidence to try until we succeed by reducing the fear of failure. Growth Mindset is about having the belief that we can all learn and develop and the more effort, the better the outcome.

In an article in Scientific American, Dweck describes how effort improves outcome, and that: “slipups stem from a lack of effort or acquirable skills, not fixed ability, they can be remedied by perseverance.”

To see similar videos about growth mindset, watch this TEDx Talk by Dave Paunesku, founder of PERTS (which created the Mindset Kit).

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