What do you really learn from mistakes? Maybe you might learn what NOT to do again, but how valuable is that? You still don’t know what you should do next after the failure. With the same knowledge you could still repeat the same mistakes that got you failed.

We keep making mistakes by learning from our mistakes

Whoever said that you can and should learn from your mistakes made a mistake. Humans are better at learning after doing something right rather than after doing something wrong.

Why we learn more from our successes

MIT research in the past have shown that the brain learns more after a success than a failure. The study indicates, contrary to what is globally acceptable (learn from your mistakes), that neurons in the brain are able to keep a memory of recent success and failures during learning and performed better after doing it right than after doing it wrong.

“We have shown that brain cells keep track of whether recent behaviors were successful or not,” Miller said. Furthermore, when a behavior was successful, cells became more finely tuned to what the animal was learning. After a failure, there was little or no change in the brain – nor was there any improvement in behavior. 

Learn from your successes

Learning from your success on the other hand, makes you a better person who knows what works and the most important thing here is that you can do it again even better.

Entrepreneurs who have succeeded in the past are more likely to repeat their successes than those who have failed a couple of times.

Mistakes  make learning possible, they make growth and improvement possible but your mistakes won’t make you a better person if you stop for a minutes and learn from those who are doing it right.

Some people will never learn!

Some scientists think they know why some people will never learn. People who keep repeating the same mistakes have less active brains, they said.

A research, led by Professor Joydeep Bhattacharya in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths (University of London), examined what it is about the brain that defines someone as a ‘good learner’ from those who do not learn from their mistakes.

‘We are always told how important it is to learn from our errors, our experiences, but is this true?,’ he said. ‘If so, then why do we all not learn from our experiences in the same way? It seems some people rarely do, even when they were informed of their errors in repeated attempts.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.- Thomas A. Edison

Your mistakes have little value for yourself if you are not improving.  On the other hand your mistakes when shared opens up ways that are not working  with others could have taking the same path that lead to failure.

Share your mistakes business or career mistakes with others and you will increase the likelihood of success for people you may not even know.

Your startup postmortem is a reminder to those in your industry that you have found another way that does not work. But yet still founders keep repeating the same mistakes.

Startup failure is an all-too familiar experience but until you have personally experienced it, you hardly comprehend another founder’s experience. And guess what, you are likely to run into the same mistake.

Learning from your mistakes Is harder than you think.

Donna Alvermann, a language and literacy researcher at the University of Georgia, notes that in study after study, “students ignored correct textual information when it conflicted with their previously held concepts. On measures of free recall and recognition, the students consistently let their incorrect prior knowledge override incoming correct information.”

Start unlearning, fast!

Your previously held concepts, business practices, career choices could be your biggest hindrance to your own success. It’s about time you focused on what works, what is working and what has worked in the past not just for you but for other in your niche.

There is nothing wrong with reading about failure lessons, but you should be focusing more on success stories that are making great impact in peoples lives.

Mistakes are inevitable

You cannot avoid it, mistakes are inevitable. Your response to them is what matters. When you fail, do you fold up and abandon your dreams or move on to another path that could still lead you to achieving the ultimate dream. Keep trying, learn from your successes and don’t repeat your mistakes, even though it’s easier said than done.

Whether you think you can or think you can’t—you’re right.-Henry Ford