TED Conversations

Questions First

This conversation is closed.

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."


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

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jun 16 2013: First of all, what is a mistake and what is a failure?
    It's always about the degree. A failure is something that's almost impossible to correct.

    For example, a mistake costing enormous amount of time or other resources can be a failure.
    Society has some expectations of people, not meeting them is considered a failure, not a mistake.
    That's why actually changing it is so hard.

    Making too many mistakes is considered a failure in its own right. More so, if these are mistakes of the same kind...

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.