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People Learn From Mistakes, But It Doesn’t Have To Be Their Mistakes

What if you could avoid making all life changing mistakes? Mistakes like investing years of your life into dating the wrong person only to have it end with breakup; failing in business and going bankrupt; or being a runner and getting a knee injury that would cause you to never run again.

Some people think it’s noble to make mistakes because it “builds character.”

This is a myth.

Making mistakes isn’t bad. They’re essential for growth. But some mistakes are fatal and making certain mistakes over and over again is time consuming and unnecessary.

In the book “The Selfish Gene,” Richard Dawkins, who is an evolutionary biologist and ethologist, says,

“Survival machines (us) that can simulate the future are one jump ahead of survival machines who can only learn on the basis of overt trial and error. The trouble with overt trial is that it takes time and energy. The trouble with overt error is that it is often fatal. Simulation is both safer and faster.”

This means your ability to simulate is what will give you a competitive advantage in the game of life.

Many of you may want to start your own business, climb the corporate ladder, or find the love of your life, and as you strive toward your goals, you’ll inevitably approach many forks in the road where you will have to make certain decisions.

But every decision you make is a gamble.

Most people give no thought to this. Most people just make a decision they predict to be the right choice and then go down that path to see if they were right. After time, if they see that it wasn’t the right path, they turn back and take the other path.

They’ll repeat this process until they find the road that eventually takes them to where they want to go, but this is ineffective and is the least efficient way to start a business, to enter a relationship, or to achieve your goals.

The way to solve the problem of making predictions that could be mistakes is to become a learning machine.

If you want to improve your ability to simulate then you must simply read more.

You don’t need to learn everything the hard way through trial and error. You can learn what has worked and what hasn’t from the experiences of other people.

If you want to find love, for example, you should be reading books about the science of attraction and what successful marriages do that unsuccessful marriages don’t do, so you can learn to not make those same mistakes.

Sometimes you find the wrong partner, but there are books that teach you what to look for and what to avoid so that you don’t have to experience the pain of making the mistake of investing time into the wrong person.

Remember, everything has to be learned the easy way or the hard way. Most people skip the easy way, which is learning from other people’s success and failures. Don’t do that.

So many people have gone ahead of you in life and so you can learn from them. You don’t need to learn everything through overt trial and error. Save yourself the time and effort.

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for,” Socrates once said.

Warren Buffett said something similar, “People learn from mistakes, but it doesn’t have to be their mistakes.”

Realize the consequences of not reading and having to learn everything the hard way. The potential consequences of trying to do everything through trial and error will hurt you and could even stop you from ever reaching your goals.

Edited by  Miki Ding

Adèle McLay
Adèle McLay is a high performance coach and business growth coach. She helps people to achieve the success they desire in their businesses, work and lives. Adèle is also an entrepreneur, inspiring professional speaker and teacher, as well as an author.


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