This is something I’ve been thinking about lately – “the benefits of trial and error” or “making mistakes” and how creating opportunities to fail can actually lead to longer-term success.

OOPS Tag over white background, 3D render suitable for interjection purpose or surpriseI have two college-aged sons and you are going to think I’m crazy, but I love to hear when things “go wrong.” 


It’s not that I have any ill-will against my kids – I just find that they learn a lot more when things don’t work out so well the first time around.


And when things are too easy there is typically no value to the lesson at all. 


Here’s a recent example:

My son takes the Amtrak train to come home during his college breaks.

Freshman year, taking the NJ transit train to Newark Penn Station, waiting until his train was posted on the info board 10 minutes before departure, finding the right track, and then getting on a train without a “destination label” saying where it was going, was all a brand new experience for him.


However after a few times the journey became routine.  As he would say,


“The train to Boston comes on Track 2

at the scheduled time and you just hop on.” 


And that was true until that one time they changed the track and he didn’t double check.

The train came at or around the appointed time, but being at the wrong track he hopped on…the wrong train.

There were so many monumental growth lessons that came out of that day (amazingly he even didn’t tell us anything until he got home!), but if I had to pick one overarching life lesson it would be:

Thinking before you “leap”

can save a lot of time, energy and stress.


Now the truth is, I am sure that I have given him that advice at some point in his 18+ years….but there is much to be said for first-hand experience to really drive a message home!

When’s the last time you’ve given yourself, your kids or your employees the opportunity to fail or make a mistake?

How can you create opportunities to fail and would you ever do that?

Does making a mistake always represent something negative to you?  

How do you react when something goes wrong?

Are you missing out on some good learning opportunities?


My Advice:  Shake things up a little bit, try some new things and take a little risk – you never know what you might learn!



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