Why it’s time to ignore the ‘mistake culture’ and start trying

Fear of failure may be preventing you from chasing your goals, and it could well be time to throw off the shackles imposed by a ‘mistake culture’.

While the idea of being publicly held to account for making a mistake is unpalatable, the alternative of never trying could be far worse.

At Medium, Increase Media chief executive Catalin Matei writes that “pain often makes us stronger, more grounded and more resilient”.

Matei points to role of the education system in conditioning students to avoid failure, and instead stresses the benefits of trial and error.

“The mistake culture that we’ve been brought up in is the underlying condition that’s keeping us away from trying, from even having a chance at winning the game,” he writes.

“And I don’t know about you, but I would rather play the game, and have a chance to win, than watch it and not have a chance.

“That’s how I look at things: if you don’t play the game, you’re not going to win. There’s not a game in which you can only win, that’s not a game, that’s a trick. So the only way you can win is exposing yourself to failure. Are you willing to succeed? Then fail.”

With fear acting as an inhibitor, certainty presents the easy and well-trodden path. However, rather than following the examples of others, trying and failing can ultimately be beneficial.

Making difficult choices and risking failure has the potential to be productive, with Matei pointing to the role of mistakes in promoting growth, innovation and progress.

He observes that usually the “biggest achievements come in the face of the greatest adversity”.

“You have to go against what you’ve been told or what you’ve seen in order to win,” he advises.

“Especially if you’re young, the faster you do it, the better you will become.

“The faster you understand you and figure out what you like, what are your passions, how you can accept mistakes and feel good about them, how you can take your fear out of your life by facing it, the more you can become the real ‘you’, express yourself more, and guess what?

“After you’ve got some momentum it’s really hard for other people to stop you.”

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