Saif Ali Shaik

August 21, 2021

Learning from mistakes is overrated

I read that failure is the stepping stone to success before even I know what loss is or what success is. I remember first reading this statement somewhere in a classmate's notebook and then on a wall at my school. I never thought about it until the next exam, and I got lower marks than my expectations. I somehow perceived it as a failure. 

Eventually, these motivational speakers around made this famous statement -- failure is a stepping stone to success.

Even in the business world today, we hear an alternative to doing this - Fail early and fail often.

The best this quote told me is to "Try again," without any hint on how.

Let me ask you, "What do you truly learn from mistakes?" I will learn what not to do again. How valuable is that? But I still don't know what I should do next.

The problem with these statements is they fool me that I can hit a ball coming from the dark to sixer one day. If I am at the center of the ground, I need to turn every degree with a swing combination of my bat to hit the ball. 

In life, we fool ourselves out of these statements. As a result, we rotate and swing in ~2200 weeks left to live. Probably waste it instead of experiencing life.

Failure is not a prerequisite for success. Instead, focus on what worked so that I can do it again. Next time, even better!  

  • I should focus on what strategy worked to get the marks I already scored and replicate it. Develop intuition and keep improvising it. 
  • Similarly, on a cricket ground, first, become aware it's dark. Find avenues where you find as much visibility as possible. Try what worked and improvise probability.

It's also how nature works. Evolution doesn't linger on past failures, and it's always building upon what worked. So should you.