A Story about Failure, Learning

There once was a potter who was teaching pottery making to a class of 20 students. As an experiment, the potter split the class into 2 groups, giving each group a simple yet different objective. His hope was to teach his class something about failure, learning.

For group 1, his objective was for each student to make one perfect pot.

For group 2, his objective was for each student to use up 100 lbs of clay.

The first group struggled, working on one pot days on end. Most failed to get it right.

The second group went through a lot of clay and failed often. But through failure, they also iterated, learned, and perfected technique. By the end most had several perfect pots.

For me, there are two important lessons from this experiment.

First, it is important to consider the enablers of the (sometimes hidden) motivation that you employ.

Second, is the importance of not being concerned with failure (i.e. the importance of failure as a means of learning a new skill).



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Mike Schoultz

Mike Schoultz

Mike Schoultz writes about improving the performance of business. Bookmark his blog for stories and articles. www.digitalsparkmarketing.com