A Connoisseur Of Mistakes

CONNOISSEUR: a person with a well-informed knowledge and appreciation(§)

79 connoisseur of mistakes pic1

Last time I talked about how you respond to “getting it wrong”, and ways of moving from option (a)
“Oh no!  This is terrible!! How could I be so stupid?”
to option (b)
“Wasn’t expecting that.  What do I do now?”

I saved the last one for a blog of its own; option (c)
“Fantastic!  What a precious and valuable piece of information to go to work on.”

If this sounds more fantasy than fantastic, consider that some very clever and successful people have become successful precisely because they relished their mistakes.

Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t. (*)

The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them — especially not from yourself. Instead of turning away in denial when you make a mistake, you should become a connoisseur of your own mistakes, turning them over in your mind as if they were works of art, which in a way they are. … The trick is to take advantage of the particular details of the mess you’ve made, so that your next attempt will be informed by it and not just another blind stab in the dark(†).

I began to see that my findings up till now implied the possibility of the opening up of an entirely new field of inquiry, and I was obsessed with the desire to explore it.(√)

I think the key here is appreciation.  You’ve been practising neutral judgements, you’ve maybe got quite good at them.  Now try some appreciation.

Cherish, relish, enjoy, regard, prize, savour.
Above all, make good use of.


(§) The Chambers Dictionary
(*)Credited to Thomas Edison, who invented over 1,000 amazingly useful things, including the electric lightbulb.
() Scientist and author Daniel Dennett: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/05/29/intuition-pumps-daniel-dennett-on-making-mistakes/
(√) FM Alexander, discoverer of the Alexander Technique, ‘The Use of the Self’ IRDEAT edition p.420
Image courtesy of suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

CNHC and ITM registered Alexander Technique teacher.

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Posted in experiment, improvement

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