Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On making mistakes

Hello readers!
Today I'm gonna talk briefly about making mistakes.

We, human beings, usually regret ourselves on making mistakes. Avoiding them, undoubtedly, has been an advantage in an evolutionary point of view. Imagine a prehistoric man hunting in a savana. When he stumbled upon a rock while trying to catch a lion he was punished for his mistake with his life.

The work of Karl R. Popper, which I'm reading a lot nowadays, delineates another standpoint about errors, or perhaps, I should say, a discussion in another level.

Popper believed that the only way to get closer to truth (if it exists...) was to trust in reason and be critical. Thus, according to him, making mistakes is not just inevitable, but very necessary to improve our understanding about the world. In few words this is what his critical rationalism is all about.

Similar ideas are pointed out by other 'successful' people:

"You say you want innovation...If you're serious about this, you need to celebrate and promote failures" - starts at 10'47''.

"Let's forget about avoiding mistakes...We want to limit our ability to make mistakes. Making mistakes is like a crime. No! It's a normal part of the thinking process." - starts at 33'30''.

When Irene Adler is in scene you can observe that Sherlock Holmes makes more mistakes. And as far as I know, it is an invariant in all Sherlock Holmes movies/series. Watch this video:

In this particular scene, Holmes is easily poisoned. Immediately after being poisoned, he still strives to understand how he was deceived, mentally reconstructing Adler's poisoning strategy. In a nutshell, learning from his mistake.

So, next time you make a mistake, laugh. It probably means that you are trying something new. And most importantly, learn with it!

Till the next time, readers!
Ronald Kaiser