Happy 2016! Raise your glass for a year full of mistakes! Hear, hear!

What? Are mistakes not on your new year’s resolutions list?

I think they should be. I always put “making mistakes” on my list; that’s how I know for sure I’ll check something off it by the time the new year becomes the old one. The best thing is that I always check off other resolutions and accomplishments too, and some of these only become possible thanks to the many mistakes I make during the year.

It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s part of being human. And yet we live in a society that stigmatizes mistakes.

We grow up being punished for the faults we have and blunders we make. What if teachers used a green pen to highlight the things we did perfectly in a test instead of the dreadful red pen emphasizing our mistakes?

By the time we become adults, we have tried so hard to impress our family, friends and managers that we turn into masters of hiding our mistakes and strive to make as few as possible.

But are mistakes really the worst thing we could do?

Learning from mistakes

Some would argue that the worst mistake is to not make any at all! Mistakes should be seen as opportunities to learn and push us forward. People will never come up with anything original — new concepts, new products, new solutions to old problems, you name it — if they are not prepared to be wrong, if they are afraid of making mistakes.

Personal experience and personal failure are probably the best teachers in the universe. People need to learn things the hard way if they really want to become the best at something, personally and professionally. Making mistakes along the way is just life’s method of helping us pass the tests successfully.

“I’ve learned so much from my mistakes
I’m thinking of making a few more.”

— Anonymous

E-learning and making mistakes

Some office mistakes, like forgetting to change the coffee filter, don’t have much weight in the good functioning of a company. But other mistakes have a greater impact.

Saying the wrong thing to an undecided prospect can completely shut the door of ever transforming that prospect into a client. Also, mistreating an existing, paying customer can affect company cash flow and making it lose money. These situations translate to lost opportunities of growing the company’s profit or actually shrinking it, and are all caused by employees’ mistakes.

In a professional working setting, e-learning provides the best environment for making mistakes. The awesome part is that you can take all the bad decisions there are, without your company having to suffer any consequences in terms of costs.

Online training programs build up a virtual business world where employees can test all their ideas in the pursuit of finding the best solutions to their challenges. If things don’t work, you can ditch them and try new approaches. This makes your critical thinking and problem solving skills stronger. When real life circumstances demand a fast reaction, you’ll remember to not repeat any mistakes you made during the training and ace that situation, be it gaining new clients or keeping the old ones.

Without the constant fear of making mistakes, the learning management system of your online training becomes a secure place to put into practice your most out-of-the-box ideas and prove naysayers that things can be done in unconventional ways too. When you’re not afraid of the consequences of your possibly bad decisions, you can take risks and discover brand new approaches to decades old business hurdles.

Whenever you hit a roadblock, you can check all the supporting documents in the LMS, or go to your colleagues or manager/instructor about it. You know what they say, if you don’t ask, you don’t want to learn. You’ll be surprised how easy things become when you find out that you’re not alone.

With that being said, go ahead and make mistakes! You’ll be a better learner, a wiser person, and your company will benefit from your great results.

 

What’s your stance on making mistakes? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Author: Livia M

Livia is the lead online voice of MATRIX by CYPHER LEARNING. She writes about workplace learning and L&D strategies for businesses, as well as other training and e-learning related subjects.