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Mistakes - an under-appreciated learning tool

"Failure is the stepping stone to success"
"Success comes through failure"
"Experience comes from bad judgement"

And so on.

We know this to be true, yet why is it that we don't do it well? Children seem to be much better at this than adults.

I think it is because we are so awash in a sea of content/knowledge/activity/choice as adults that we forget that focus is the key to learning and success, not content alone.

It seems the best way to learn is to start doing things without learning all the content, stretch through failure into success, and then get the benefit of "expertise". The reason this works - failure provides context for memory.

Kids do it all the time. They test failures until parents "correct" them.

Finding our way through failure is the uniquely human way of co-opting the innate "fear of death" into a positive memory (and skill) making activity.



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