5 January 2010 – Making Mistakes And Learning From Them… – By Karen Boyes
Making mistakes is a great way to learn. Think about how a baby learns to walk. They pull themselves up, take that fantastic first step and… fall down. They pull themselves back up again and fall again. This learning process applies to all other tasks—reading, writing, maths, learning to ride a bike, roller skate or drive a car.
There are many fantastic examples from history that show how mistakes and failures can lead to success.
Did you know..?
Michael Jordan failed to make his secondary school’s basketball team’
Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper, because he lacked “good creative ideas”
Einstein could not speak until be was four and did not learn to read until be was seven.
Beethoven’s music teacher told him he was ‘hopeless as a composer”
High achievers are made not born. They make mistakes and learn from them. Babe Ruth, world famous baseball player holds the world record for number of home rums hit in his lifetime 714. He also holds the world record for number of strike-outs. 1330. He has struck out nearly twice as many times as he has hit home runs, and he’s the most successful at both.
When making a movie, a director will shoot as many ‘takes’ as necessary to get the best shot. Each time the scene is not correct the director calls it a mis-take and asks the crew to do it again, giving them a correction. This is a major key to learning from mistakes. To recognise where you went wrong and correct it. A six year old once explained this to me as a maze. ‘When you come to a dead end, you go back and find out where you went wrong and take another path.’
Fear of Failure:
Many people are scared of failing and do not attempt new tasks and activities for fear of not getting it right. This is crazy. You can learn from making mistakes. Often people use excuses to stop they experiencing failure. Have you ever heard yourself (or people around you) saying something like this?
“Why should I study, I’m going to fail anyway”
“That teacher doesn’t like me. He’ll fail me no matter what I do”
“Why should I do anything my Mum wants? She thinks everything I do is wrong no matter what.”
“Of course I’m not good at Maths, my Mum wasn’t”
This negative self talk is not success talk. People who talk like this often sound tough and act as though they have everything under control. On the inside, their self confidence is usually really low.
In Mark Victor Hansen’s Book The One Minute Millionaire he discusses a SNAP technique for eliminating negative self talk. Simply put a rubber band around you wrist. Every time you catch yourself having a negative thought, simply snap the rubber band. Ouch! He suggests you wear the band for 30 days, 24 hours a day. Give it a go. It works.
FEAR stands for False Expectations Appearing Real. It is when you think forward to a situation in your mind and see a negative outcome and bring this image back to the present and worry or get fearful about what might happen. It is a false expectation that you created in your head and then have made it seem real.
Anthony Robbins says “The past does not equal the future.” Just because you failed last year, yesterday, or two minutes ago does not mean you will fail today, tomorrow or on your next attempt.
Fear Of Success
Sometimes people fear being successful. What will people think? What if my friends don’t like or respect me anymore. It’s called the Tall Poppy Syndrome and is very common in New Zealand and Australia. Americans do not have this syndrome. Here’s an example of how it works…
The American poppy grower goes out to his poppy fields one day and sees a single poppy standing one meter tall among all the other 30 cm poppies. The farmer is excited and rushes over to the poppy and thinks ‘how can I get all my poppies to grow this tall?’ The New Zealand poppy farmer goes out to his poppy fields one day and sees a single poppy standing one meter tall among all the other 30 cm poppies. The farmer rushes over to the poppy and taking a pair of scissors from his pocket cuts it down. Success is risky and it’s also very exciting.
Encourage your child to learn from their mistakes. When your child gets a test paper back, invite them to celebrate the correct answers and go back to learn the questions they answered incorrectly.
Share examples from your own life and people students may know or have heard of that have made mistakes, overcome obstacles and fear to be successful.
Create an environment in your home where it is OK to make mistakes and celebrate new learning.
Practice positive self talk and spend twice as much time praising your child rather than reprimanding.
Rename mistakes to Mis -takes or learning experiences.
Remind your child of how the learning process works – with small and often subtle improvements. Positive results are not always instant.
Continue to believe in the ability of your child no matter how many times they have failed or been in trouble.
Check out our website at www.spectrumeducation.com and shop online for books and educational resources.