A new way to think about mistakes will both help you stop making them, and change the way you feel about them.
The author contrasts the “error model” of performance with the “bug model.” In the error model, your performance on a piece of music or a test is thought of as a perfect performance with randomness errors. With that conception, improvement means lowering your error rate. (Sound familiar?) And with this model, your performance is graded by your accuracy.
Then there’s the bug model: When you’re taking a test you’re executing a program. Since the program is deterministic, a bug will create consistent errors across a class of problems. As such, a percentage doesn’t really capture the accuracy of a program; fixing a tiny bug can turn everything being wrong to everything being right. The key, then, is to isolate the bug.
“Once you start to think of mistakes as deterministic rather than random, as caused by “bugs” (incorrect understanding or incorrect procedures) rather than random inaccuracy, a curious thing happens,” she writes. “You stop thinking of people as ‘stupid.’”
And here’s more on this subject:
[Image: Flickr user Scallop Holden]