TED Conversations

Questions First

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Why are we afraid to make mistakes?

I recently saw this article and found the following paragraph: "In science, you make your mistakes in public. You show them off so that everybody can learn from them. This way, you get the benefit of everybody else's experience, and not just your own idiosyncratic path through the space of mistakes."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/may/19/daniel-dennett-intuition-pumps-thinking-extract?CMP=twt_gu

While i'm not sure that all scientists share their mistakes so that others can learn form them, i was wondering why we're afraid to make mistakes at work, for instance? Is it because we are told that mistakes are not tolerated? Could it be our education, from our family and school, that mistakes should be avoided at all cost or hidden when they happen?

Topics: failure mistakes
+12
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • May 31 2013: That's an easy call. Education (in America anyway) has no grounding on social development. It is purely competition only. There are no formal models for social development, authority is lorded over you without contract or explanation. Fix these things and one of the first realizations is that there is developmental value in honest failure. And sniggling and mob ridicule becomes the sign of social illiterates and arrested development rather than the norm it is still today. That's why people are afraid to fail. When we have a culture of cooperation that offsets the over-emphasis on competition, it begins to occur that failure is a stimulus that leads to synergy. And if you don't know how great a thing synergy is, you are undoubtedly a product of that flawed western education. Synergy is the coming together of two or more persons whose unique interactions creates a new whole greater than the some of its parts--in other words, together we can and will discover collaborations that lead to creation neither of us could have accomplished or even imagined alone. Capitalists frown on that kind of thing--it's winner take all, so there are probably political reasons we still have the Industrial Factory system still churning out under-achievers if not failures. IMO, no reformed educational system should accept even one failure. It's gotta be all "hit, no miss" not hit or miss with a high degree of misses.
    • thumb
      May 31 2013: Interesting and convincing point. In a competition it is often easier to drag rivals down than stack one's own success. Without appropriate incentives people would end up making each other fall down to the ground.
    • thumb
      May 31 2013: I completely agree with that seeing as I am a product of that fail of a system.
    • thumb
      Jun 1 2013: What would be the realistic result if the educational system were to change?

      I honestly agree with your point, but from another perspective competition drives people to strive for higher achievements, and thus produce people with supposed 'higher' success, but consequently results in many failures. (Life is too damn unfair).

      Should society change there educational system in that it would reduce the competitiveness and strive for 100% success (Note: Competitiveness is part of human nature, if that helps with anything).
      • Jun 1 2013: Competition and cooperation are not mutually exclusive--it doesn't have to be all one way or all the other. Consider team sports--one team cooperates with each other and so does the other, but the two teams compete with each other and nothing is lost while so much is gained as the sport takes form. When it comes to education it becomes much more unwieldy if you think of education revolving around a building hundreds or thousands of young people come to each day. What if you dispose of that model after elementary school where the basics of language and mathematics are uptaken and convert part of that building to a "facilitation zone"? Here there would be guidance personnel, students completely liberated from the confinement to this thing we have called "class" where young people who may be intellectually ready to progress at extraordinary speeds have been dragged down by the luck of the draw of a poor teacher or slow students no longer have that confining them to 20th Century views of "normality". On the same token, those who have not done well in "class" for whatever reason get remedial help from older students where the elders are able to get credit for the social development value as well as the communication skills helping those a little younger in age can provide. I'm going to run out of characters long before I can address even a fraction of the potentials that are possible if we cease seeing education as tied to "time slots and a central building" and instead retrain what used to be "teachers" (with the help of new media technologies) to take the approach of having a number of "clients" that they "facilitate" by matching cooperative relationships which are by nature, temporary and fluid. How could this be configured so that it is not so faulty and makes for the mixture of some competition? Use what nature has shown us--the bee hive where no more than 6 and no fewer than 2 can work in a "cell" to achieve an objective. Culturize lecture as entertainment etc

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.