Screwing Up on Purpose: The Beauty of The Deliberate Mistake
Often when faced with a difficult task we make a set of assumptions that dictate our actions. “I’m not good enough to get that client.” Or “I can’t go to that event, it’s too big-time for me.” We can sabotage ourselves before we even begin, afraid of failure or embarrassment. To tackle hard problems and to really stretch ourselves, sometimes we have to make a “deliberate mistake.”
I’ve been fascinated with deliberate mistakes since Paul Schoemaker and the late Robert Gunther introduced the idea in the Harvard Business Review in 2006. To repeat their definition:
"True deliberate mistakes are expected, on the basis of current assumptions, to fail and not be worth the cost of the experiment…. But if such a mistake unexpectedly succeeds… [it] creates opportunities for profitable learning."
In other words: if we fail, we learn something. If we succeed, our long-shot risk actually paid off. By reframing tough tasks as “deliberate mistakes” we can help remove all of the pressure that can keep us frozen, all while learning something along the way. Read author John Caddell's complete 99u.com article for tips on how to effectively manage the process of making deliberate mistakes for career advancement.