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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

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    R H 30+

    • +1
    Jun 8 2013: We're afraid of making mistakes because we could get fired, because our kids might lose respect for us, our parents would yell at us, it could cost alot of money, we could get hurt, we could be fined or put in jail, we might actually succeed at something and therefore be responsible and/or liable, and a host of other negative reinforcements. Isnt 'fear' always born from negativity? It is the worst 4-letter word we have, in my opinion, and prevents us from everything positive, productive, and good - again in my opinion.
    • Jun 9 2013: I agree, R H. Fear is paralyzing. It's also the best marketing tool on earth... sadly.

      We learn at an early age to consider the consequences of our actions, which has a negative tint to it. However, the consequences of making a mistake, albeit unintentional, are also often construed as negative. We seem to be more worried about possible negative eventualities rather than truth = fear.
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        Jun 19 2013: I heard FEAR broken down as as acronym once: False Evidence Appearing Real

        I find this to be pretty true most of the time.
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      Jun 22 2013: R H, I had a moment while listening to Brene Brown's talk http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html

      Fear- future
      Shame- past

      I don't know how to explain my understanding any better than that.
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        R H 30+

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        Jun 22 2013: Beautiful. Thnx.

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