Intelligence is not to make no mistakes, but quickly to see how to make them good. Bertolt Brecht
Observe a tiny tot making his/her first move to becoming a toddler. It would first attempt to stand and promptly fall for it lacks the balance and the strength in the legs. Yet the natural urge to get up and be independent will stimulate the tiny one to keep pegging away despite many a futile attempt. At this point the concept of failure and mistakes is alien to the little one and that helps the little ones have no inhibitions or apprehensions.
As one grows up we acquire many a skill and knowledge and with it the concept of success and failure, right and wrong, possibilities and impossibilities, truth and fiction etc. In this process making mistakes is often severely punished and kudos liberally given to those who do not make mistakes and they are considered intelligent. As a result the average person tries hard not to fail and make mistakes and therefore avoid anything that hints at failure. Yet ironically no invention or discovery or noteworthy contribution of the human race has ever been error free or perfect in the first attempt. This brings us to a notable reality that success is in harnessing ones intelligence to pursue ones dreams against all odds and achieve it.
Mistakes could be due to a number of reasons from overlooking the obvious to complete misjudgment is one such spectrum. It could also be due to carelessness, misunderstanding, inefficiency and /or wrong assumptions. The net result though is that the end result we seek is not achieved thereby implying failure which in turn leads us to question our own competence and intelligence. Yet for those who believe in themselves, the mistakes are merely a pointer to the elimination of a failed possibility thus offering us the opportunity to pursue another line of thinking by harnessing our intelligence.
Creativity and logic form the axis around which intelligence revolves. Memory, quick thinking, number crunching and reasoning polish up the shine of intelligence. However, intelligence unless harnessed and utilized remains just an adjective but mistakes provide the perfect opportunity to translate it into an active verb. Real intelligence is in also recognizing that even the most perfect person is bound to make a mistake and that despite that one can attain unparalleled success if one were to relook the mistake and make the corrections. It is said that Jesus Christ got 1 out of 12 decisions wrong when he chose Judas to be one of his 12 disciples because ultimately he betrayed Christ.
Remember: “Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used” Dr. Carl Sagan
- Jot down the 3 biggest mistakes of your life. Were you solely responsible for each of those mistakes? If yes does the consequence of the mistake still rankle you? What was the learning from each of these mistakes?
- Assuming that you made all the three mistakes mentioned below which of these would you want to correct first if you had an opportunity to do so? Why have you chosen that option?
- You could not give your exams due to poor attendance and therefore lost an academic year.
- Your drove your car in pouring rain with the driver’s side wiper not working and as a result banged into a care ahead of you which braked suddenly. The other car was damaged badly and the driver of that car had to be hospitalized.
- You broke up with your partner over a minor misunderstanding and are not on talking terms simply because you want your partner to apologize first.
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