Psychology

Why Making Mistakes Is Useful

How your mistakes can be beneficial to you.
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“Learn from your mistakes,” a saying goes. However, the fear of making a mistake is big enough. If someone notices your oversight, it could seem to you that the end of the world is incredibly close, and everyone around you accuses you of incompetence. However, research shows that making mistakes is beneficial to you. The result is not only social acceptance but also an increase in brain efficiency. I want to note that we are not talking about huge mistakes like the explosion of a nuclear power plant. It is about the mistakes in everyday life by committing which we feel out of place.

1. From the social-psychological point of view, people tend to sympathize with those who make small mistakes and admit them. When we demonstrate our vulnerability and imperfection, the level of empathy and acceptance towards us from other people rises. These tendencies are called the «pratfall effect.» Studies on this effect show, for example, that slightly absent-minded women are more attractive to men.

The fundamental principle that we are more attracted to imperfect people can be explained by the similarity factor. We perceive more positively those who make mistakes since we also make mistakes. In that way, a person who shows their oversights looks more attractive to us. The speaker will attract more audience if they make a small mistake publicly.

2. When we make mistakes, we gain life experience. The personality that we have today was formed because we made mistakes, analyzed them, and learned from them. Choosing to view a mistake as a new experience seems definitely more attractive and rewarding than running away from oneself in a vicious circle of self-criticism with slipping notes of self-pity.

3. By accepting your failures, your brain activity increases, so you absorb information better. After making a mistake, the brain begins to analyze the information more slowly and more thoroughly before making a new decision. This leads to the fact that the likelihood of further inaccuracies decreases. Besides, after making a mistake, brain areas responsible for two learning types are activated: avoidance learning and reward-based learning. The first one leads to the fact that the mistake is a stress and a negative experience. This means that the brain will try to avoid repetitive mistakes. Second, reward-based learning is about finding the right solution or fixing a situation, accompanied by dopamine release, which means improved mood.

As you can see, it is natural to make mistakes. Moreover, you can use it profitably. Admitting your mistake and not blaming yourself for oversight, you can win your audience's sympathy and gain valuable life experience.

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