Expert is …

October 11, 2011

I remember one saying what expert is. Expert is someone who knows what to scare. I quote this all the time, I scare, being pessimistic, not because I’m an expert.

This post quotes another definition of expert that I like by physicist Niels Bohr.

a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.

I can’t agree more to this. I work in a very narrow field and I have made more mistakes than any other persons I know of added together.

After all, everybody screws up.

These questions are in my mind all the time

Why are some people so much more effective at learning from their mistakes?

Most people look for a carpet and tuck things under. Many labels you can choose for this behavior, e.g. corporate culture, survival skill …. I was told to do that, what can I do to change … etc.

After all, everybody screws up, including him.

The important part is what happens next. Do we ignore the mistake, brushing it aside for the sake of our self-confidence? Or do we investigate the error, seeking to learn from the snafu?

I haven’t heard of company culture that encourages admitting mistakes. However we do make mistakes and will continue to do that, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. [Disclaimer: you can’t say this to your boss unless you are expert in dealing with crappy boss or have prepared to deal with regrets]

According to the experiment by Jason Moser described in that post, it turns out that we shouldn’t praise kids for their innate intelligence instead we should praise kids for their hard work as they will be more interested in tougher tasks and want to understand their mistakes, to learn from their errors, to figure out how to do better.

When was the last time you heard your boss saying “…thanks for the hard work, it’s alright that you screwed that up, I’m sure you earned from that experience and you’ll do better next time“?

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.


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