Why sweeping your mistakes under the rug is a colossal waste and what you should do instead.
To err is human, poets tell us, but common sense offers an addendum to this old adage: to err repeatedly in the exact same way is just plain stupid.
Mistakes may be unavoidable and universal but how we respond to them varies considerably, according to psychologists. Some of us, it seems, react to mistakes with feelings of shame and inadequacy. Others respond not by beating themselves up for their stupidity but by framing the error as a chance to learn and grow. The first group thinks of their ability as a fixed quantity; the second as a work in progress. Any one want to guess who does better in the long run?
So if learning from mistakes is a key part in maximizing your potential, why do so many of us rush to brush every stumble under the mental rug? And what could we do instead? Elaine Wherry, the co-founder of chat site Meebo (which was acquired by Google last year), offered a suggestion recently. How about a mistake diary? The WSJreported on her talk:
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