4 tips for being a ‘learner’ not a ‘mistake-avoider’

We learn by failing, iff failing means not getting things right all of the time.

Whether it’s those first steps, our running style or scientific discoveries that come only after trials are ditched and techniques refined, learning is process.

We are not built for perfection.

Experiments have conclusively shown that we are hard-wired to think in ways that may help us survive, but are innately flawed and that we shape realities on shaky foundations and false evidence as visual illusions show.

Even where there are no apparent flaws, we are born into cultures that define value relative to colour, creed and sex (to name but a few) and so a healthy, thinking wo/man can as easily become an enemy of the state if the circumstances allow.

So why I ask myself, has perfection become an acceptable goal? And why do we let it define our value?

We want the perfect body, partner, boss or job, a Vogue house, ideal parents, faultless kids, it seems there’s no end to our list (or lust) to achieve it.

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Productivity needs play

Given that innovation is practically a mantra for CEOs globally and that countless studies have laid out the conditions for creating it, you’d think workplaces would be operating a little differently from a decade or so ago.

The literature is overflowing with cries for agility, decentralized networks, collaborative architecture or cultures that enable creativity through play.

Yet few organizations walk their talk, demanding innovation while pinning people to desks and archaic behaviours that confer credibility simply because they are familiar.

Companies continue to worry about absenteeism rather than the far more concerning trend of what Harvard Business Review’s Paul Hemp calls presenteeism – where workers turn up without really being there, and which is far more costly than paid sick leave.

Why do we still measure inputs rather than outputs, promote head-down-bum-up cultures that drive outcomes from A to B when we know that quantum leaps result from more haphazard associations?

We have entrenched views on what a serious workplace looks like. And despite studies that suggest serious is not synonymous with productive, many of us cling to old ideas rather than pushing against them. But push we should.

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