Good Mistakes

By Raphael Selz. Raphael is a student from Paris, France

When you do a mistake, do you think you learn faster?

Doing mistakes is, I think, very important to learn, and learning also means to grow up and evolve.

A lot of people are afraid of making errors and think of them as something that should be avoided at all costs or assimilate them with shame and foolishness. Thinking like that might probably be the mistake, as it is sometimes said that you “learn from your mistakes”, and I find this true. A mistake can be the lesson itself, because, for example, if you fail a particularly hard test, and you look up what you have done wrong, it can actually help you remember the answer or solution better than if you had done it right. Maybe getting things wrong causes you to remember things faster, or learn, because your mind doesn’t want whatever you did in the wrong way to happen again. Whereas if you got the answer right, you are not urged to know and remember it. You also think you already “learned” it, so you don’t take it so seriously, as you probably only care about the fact that it improved your grade a bit. So if people fail over and over again, they may know even better than the ones who have not failed. Learning better might lead to learning faster, as you won’t have to go back over what you now know perfectly, so it would be faster than getting everything right.

I am not saying that in order to learn faster, you are impelled to make mistakes and to fail, but instead the lack of errors can be bad, or at least slow you down in your study. Mistakes won’t only help you academically but also in other activities, like cooking, playing tennis, or even just getting to know people. In fact, maybe the process of learning also means doing things wrong, or at least they are a large part of it. For example, to learn how to ride a bicycle, children will fall a lot, but in the end, it’s all a part of the lesson. Making mistakes doesn’t necessarily mean you are guaranteed to be successful in what you’re doing, not unless you take in account what is wrong and face your error. Ignoring your mistake can be bad and may not force you to revise and correct them, so it would actually be better if you look straight at what was bad and fix it. Fear of failure, or not willing to accept mistakes, can be bad for you, as it may limit your imagination, your curiosity, and make you afraid of “adventures”.

Finally, mistakes can be good, and make you learn lessons and facts better and faster, but it also doesn’t mean that success is bad in any sort of way.

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