The power of mistakes

I’ve just watched an interesting 14-minute Youtube video by Derek Sivers called Why you Need to Fail. He explains three good reasons why mistakes–provided you learn from them–are helpful to your continued growth and performance.

First, you need to make mistakes in order to learn. When you’re not failing, you’re not learning. Paying attention to your mistakes actually helps you learn more effectively. Continuing to do what you’re already good at may make you feel good, but it doesn’t improve your performance.

Second, mistakes keep you in the growth mindset as opposed to the fixed mindset. A fixed mindset says ‘Talent is inborn; if I’m not immediately good at something, there’s no point in trying to get better.’ A growth mindset says: ‘I can master anything when I put in a bit of effort.’

Third, when you’re trying out new ways in order to find better ways, or in order to improve what you’re already doing, you can see these trials as experiments, which means it’s okay to make mistakes. Better still, when you see everything as an experiment, there’s no such thing as failure, just continually working to get better.

Sivers gives good examples to illustrate his points.

Discussion questions

Do you just ‘coast’, doing what your good at, or do you stretch yourself so that you can improve? Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? How might it help you to think of your activities as ‘experiments’?