How To Make Failure Work In Your Favor: A Look At Prosecution Injustices, Atms, And Mistake Learning
Failure is something that everyone has experienced in one way or another.
It can be disheartening and discouraging, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying to extract the positive from it.
The Black Box Thinking book explores various ways in which failure can be used to our advantage – a key component of success.
For example, we learn why prosecuting innocent people isn’t as uncommon as it might seem – and how this problem has sprung out of attempts to reduce failure rates.
We also discover how an invention like the ATM originated out of the mistakes made by its creators, and gain insight into how effective we are at learning from our own errors.
These sections remind us that it’s not only important to make mistakes in order to have hope for progress and success, but it’s also necessary to keep trying, even after failing – so that you can learn how to use lessons from past experiences as stepping stones for growth in the present.
Admitting Mistakes Is Harder Than Making Them: The Unfortunate Juan Rivera Case
People are afraid of admitting failure because it can compromise their self-esteem.
It’s something we’re all too familiar with – whether you’re a child being caught drawing on the walls or an adult admitting to making a mistake.
Just take the case of Juan Rivera, who was wrongfully convicted in 1992 and spent 13 years in prison before DNA testing finally proved his innocence.
His case showed us that people are highly averse to admitting their mistakes, even when absolute proof of innocence is available.
Prosecutors thought that there was some explanation for the negative DNA test, rather than admitting they had made an error.
Admitting to a mistake can be incredibly difficult, particularly when it’s large and has such an extreme impact on our lives like in Juan’s case.
Doing so challenges how people view themselves, lowering their self-image which makes it hard even to look at themselves in the mirror afterwards.
Embracing Failure Is The Key To Success: How Nature And Science Can Teach Us About Perseverance
Failure is a part of life and no matter how hard we try fail, it’s something that’s bound to happen.
And yet, there’s something that needs to be understood: failure shouldn’t be seen as an entirely negative thing.
Rather, it should be seen as an opportunity to become better and grow—as long as you’re smart enough to learn from your mistakes.
Take basketball for example.
When you play, every missed shot is a failure of sorts and a learning opportunity.
Instead of taking the loss personally, evaluate why you’ve failed in order to understand how to improve your next shot.
Recognize the wrong moves that led up to getting the ball off balance or forcing too much power—all of this can help you make the necessary adjustments for potential future successes.
The same line of thinking can be applied to nature as well.
Species have evolved over millions of years by adapting their gene pool based on their journeys until they reach their modern form.
It’s like each species is collecting data on things it almost got killed by so its descendants will use this valuable info on successfully surviving in the future.
The Impact Of Not Admitting Failure: Repeated Mistakes And Little Progress
If you can’t admit to your mistakes, then you’ll never progress.
This is true in most areas of life but especially in fields like medicine and science, where mistakes could have serious consequences.
When it comes to medicine, professionals simply can’t afford to make mistakes as people’s lives are at stake.
Yet, they often don’t admit when they do make one in fear of being criticized or punished.
As a result, mistakes are repeated and potentially more people suffer because of it – something that has been estimated to cause over 40,000 deaths per year in the United States alone.
In some other fields however – like pseudo-sciences like astrology – there can never be any progress as long as people don’t admit their mistakes or test out their theories.
An example of this was the practice of bloodletting which remained unchanged for 1700 years because no one had thought to check its effectiveness first.
It should therefore go without saying that if we want to progress in any field, we must own up our faults and learn from them instead of trying to sweep them under the rug.
Only then will we be able to move on and hopefully prevent future tragedies down the line.
The Benefits Of Testing Our Theories: Embrace Failure In Order To Find True Progress
We often try to simplify the world and turn a blind eye to things that challenge our theories.
But if we never give our ideas an opportunity to fail, then we’ll never know if they’re valid or not.
We won’t be able to grow and develop, either.
By testing our thoughts against the reality of what happens when we put certain ideas into practice, we can get a better understanding of how the world actually works.
Take bloodletting as an example: while medieval doctors may have assumed it was beneficial, they hadn’t actually tested it—so there was no way to really know for sure.
Randomized control tests are one way to test a theory and see the true outcome of a given experiment – without bias or false assumptions.
For example, ten people with the same illness could each be split into two groups – one that undergoes bloodletting and another that doesn’t receive any treatment at all.
If everyone in the first group died while half of those in the second group survive, then you can reach the conclusion that bloodletting wasn’t just ineffective but hurtful!
The most important lesson here is that success often comes from failure—or at least from being willing to subject your thoughts and ideas to it.
So don’t shy away from failure – embrace it as part of your learning journey!
Failure Can Function As A Driver Of Progress And A Way To Fine-Tune Complicated Processes
Failure can be a great motivator for creativity, as it pushes us to try and find solutions.
And, when dealing with complex issues, failure is also an important measuring tool, as it helps find out where things went wrong.
This is demonstrated by John Shephard-Barron’s invention of the ATM – he forgot to go to the bank one day and this failure served as inspiration for a solution: a money-dispensing machine that was open outside of normal banking hours.
The same rule applies when dealing with larger issues; even if you don’t know what’s causing something, small scale failures can hint at successful strategies which can then be applied on a larger scale.
For example, economists in Kenya tested various methods to improve school grades and eventually found an unexpected solution: de-worming medicine!
Had they not been willing to embrace failure at a smaller level first, they wouldn’t have discovered this helpful strategy.
All in all, failure provides opportunities to both find inspirational solutions and fine-tune complicated processes.
Embracing Failure Is The Key To Achieving Success
If you want to reach your full potential, it’s essential to embrace failure.
It’s not enough to understand intellectually that failure is helpful; you need to have a positive relationship with it.
Fear of failure can lead people to create behaviors and thought patterns that hinders success.
An example of this is the “cool kids” in the author’s class who go out partying the night before exams.
They were so scared of not living up to expectations that they used distractions in order to cope with any potential failure.
But this isn’t an efficient way of trying to improve and grow.
You must be willing to fail and take responsibility for failure in order able to develop as a person – because after all, failure is often the best teacher.
Additionally, reflecting on your mistakes and using them as opportunities for growth can really help you reach your maximum potential.
Evidence of this was discovered in an experiment performed at Michigan State University which divided children into two groups – those who believed they were born intelligent and those who believed intelligence could be earned through hard work and practice.
Those who had the latter belief found greater success when encountering obstacles since they viewed them as challenges rather than defeat moments where progress stopped immediately.
Therefore, reaching your full potential requires you accepting and learning from your mistakes rather than running away from them or burying them deep down where nobody else can see them.
The main takeaway from Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed is that you must be willing to recognize and embrace mistakes if you want to reach your full potential.
To do this, it’s important to consider failure as a necessary journey rather than an obstacle.
As Syed puts it “We should not fear mistakes; we should learn from them.” With this mentality in mind, we can use our experiences, both positive and negative, to build upon ourselves and have the success that we desire.
By shifting our focus on learning from what went wrong, rather than naively believing nothing bad will ever happen, we can ensure progress for ourselves and those around us.