We hate making mistakes and it’s no wonder. Just look at two definitions:
“Some unintentional act, omission, or error arising from ignorance, surprise…or misplaced confidence.”
“An error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.”
Putting aside the damning definitions, research suggests that humans have a high addiction to being right; when we persuade others we’re right, our dopamine level goes up. Winning a point, just like winning in sports, makes us feel good. Further, our educational system is rooted in teaching about right and wrong answers; we are rewarded for “correct” answers and learn to avoid, as best we can, the embarrassment of being wrong.
So, while it’s no surprise we hate making mistakes, we rarely live a day without making at least one. Eleanor Roosevelt knew this when she said “learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
Hence, we focus on learning from our mistakes. Indeed, every self-improvement book you will ever read addresses this important concept. And, many rules we live by, like buckling seat belts and getting safety instructions before a plane takes off, started with mistakes from which improvements flow.
In April of this year, SpaceX’s Starship rocket exploded in its flight over the Gulf of Mexico. As covered in The New York Times, “The rocket…did not reach orbit but provided important lessons for the private spaceflight company as it worked toward a more successful mission.” That mission is estimated to cost between $2-$10 billion and thus, a lot more mistakes are anticipated!
Read my full article, "We Hate Making Mistakes" to learn five quick tips (via Arden Coaching)
I'm an executive coach who works with clients on leadership and transition challenges, including retiring with enthusiasm and ease.