The way we learn is changing. Here’s why the trial and error model works best when learning a new skill:

In school we are taught to pass tests, earn good grades, and avoid making mistakes but this mindset gets in the way of our learning. When we actively avoid making mistakes we are reluctant to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. Trying something new can feel unnecessarily difficult and even impossible. When we are made to feel comfortable making mistakes we are naturally motivated to keep trying even when it’s difficult.

The trial and error model works better than the pass and fail model because it encourages us to learn from our mistakes instead of avoiding them altogether. Here are some tips for adopting the trial and error mindset:

  1. Set small achievable goals for yourself.
  2. Give yourself permission to fail.
  3. Don’t be afraid to make a mess. The more messes you make the better you will become at avoiding them.
  4. Be persistent. When we run into obstacles it can be easy to give up on our goal. This is an opportunity for us to learn and to develop resilience. Keep going.
  5. Don’t judge your progress based on the progress of others.
  6. Focus on your progress rather than focusing on your end result (this is the opposite of how we were taught in school).

Learning a new skill takes time, patience, and practice. Making mistakes is a necessary part of the learning process! Trying and failing can be scary but the success that comes through having the courage to try and learn is worth it in the end.