Keeping an Open Mind

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I have found myself saying it quite a bit lately and I’m not the only one. So, it got me thinking, is it such a bad thing to make mistakes?

If we consider the process that scientists go through before making a break through, they spend hours of their time experimenting and getting it wrong, however, this does not deter them, on the contrary it spurs them on, as it is the only way they can achieve their ultimate goals.

With this in mind, I believe it is fair to say that it is human to err, and by making mistakes we inevitably learn.  The flip side to this however is, it’s human nature to shy away from making mistakes, so we remain within our comfort zones and shy away from new challenges.  I am of the opinion that this impacts on our capacity to learn as we get older.

Of course, failure has a cost and therefore it is essential to work in an environment where you know that experimentation is encouraged and you don’t feel afraid to push bounderaries with no guarantee of success. If as individuals and a business we want to succeed we need to be challenging the conventions so that we don’t just keep doing the same old things because it is the safest option.

To paraphrase philosopher Søren Kierkegaard,life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. With this in mind, it is so important to keep an open mind and embrace new challenges and opportunities whether you think you will succeed at them or not. Or, you could look at it another way; life is not a series of mistakes and successes, but as one long learning opportunity.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas A. Edison