Dwelling on mistakes

There was this story going around social media where Einstein was writing some equations on a chalkboard and when he eventually list a final one, there was an uproar in the room because of a simple mistake he made. He mused that no one praised him for the first few equations that were correct but they were reacting harshly when he was wrong.

There is just something in our nature, even towards our loved ones, to dwell on mistakes – mostly that of others but sometimes that of ourselves. It is probably that the negative catches our attention more than the positive. After all, most of our ancestors survived because the negative things caught their attention enough for them to avoid it. Those other people who were not so sensitive probably lost their lives and failed to propagate. As a result, we tend to display that sort of anxiety and inclinations towards dwelling on mistakes.

Being aware of this can help us consider our responses more carefully and whether we are giving feedback or criticisms that are building up rather than tearing down. Instead of dwelling on mistakes, challenge yourself to link the corrective actions recommended to something positive that you’ve seen displayed by the person receiving your feedback. That will help create a positive loop.


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