I often hear the time-honored trope “We learn the most from our mistakes.” It is intuitive. However, it is false.
We certainly remember our big, painful mistakes the most, and hopefully learn from them. Of course, we need to learn from some of our mistakes. However, we learn far more from experiencing, or witnessing, something done correctly.
That’s why if you want to create a great product you study the best in the industry, not the worst. If you want to learn golf you go to an expert, not to me. I can show you tons of mistakes, but I doubt that will be worthwhile (except for laughs).
The caveman part of our brain focuses far more on mistakes, because it sees them as threats. So that part of our brain confuses us into thinking that those are the most important. They are more important for survival, but most of what we do at work or in relationships is about building, not surviving.
Make sure people experience how to do something right as soon as possible. What we’ve experienced primes us how to do it next time, for better or worse.
In building we most want to learn from what does work. There is tons of research that support this. Here is an article that describes some of that research in a compelling way…
This Fast Company article starts out …
Remembering the past can negatively impact your self-control and decision-making process.