Learning How to Fall

When you learn ice skating, coaches don’t tell you that you are not going to fall. You will fall, many times. There is no way you can learn ice skating without falling. So, they teach you how to fall right minimizing the injury. Ironically the safest way to fall safely is counter-intuitive and it requires practice. Rather than resisting the fall, falling on your hip is the best way. When you resist, you are likely to hurt your arms and legs, or even worse your head. They show you how to get up after you fall. They tell you how to take care of your injury so that you heal faster.

The same principle applies to life and business. If we try not to fall (=make mistakes), we will not learn. The only way we can manage not to fall is by doing things that we have already mastered. Anytime we try to do something new, something we haven’t done before, something we haven’t mastered yet, we are likely to fall. So, rather than trying to avoid mistakes, learning to minimize the mistakes and move forward is the most important skill to master.

In Learning Organization by Peter Senge, he emphasizes the importance of celebrating the failure as a part of learning. We get so focused on success that we forget that there are 99 failures that lead to one success. Building a culture of talking about mistakes and learning from them is valuable. We want to learn from each mistake to avoid future mistakes rather than burying it and pretending it did not happen. This open culture will reduce mistakes and result in 49 mistakes leading to one success.

We support businesses to build a learning organization, building a culture of self-initiated learning and learning from reflection. It’s the most important tool in today’s knowledge economy.