Fail smart

There is a trending notion that repeated failure is a foundation for learning. But repeated failure can also damage one’s self-efficacy and lead to learned helplessness. Failed attempts should be followed by a thorough detached evaluation of the potential causes of the failure. It is important that this process remains impersonal so that failure isn’t automatically associated with one’s self-image.

While it is true that the probabilities of success increase with repeated attempts (…drops in Monkey Playwright analogy), motivation is finite and can marginally decrease with each incident. This isn’t a general rule, my caution my not apply to people who have sufficient “grit” and insight to make the best of the experience. But for most and myself, blindly relying on odds (keep going at it until you get it right) can do harm.

I re-assess my self-estimation periodically to see if it aligns with reality. It is not immune to the distortions of the mortal mind but serves well as a guideline for setting goals.

There is no sure way to know what we can do without trying/failing, our models fail short of the real thing. Experiments carry risk so discernment is important.