Being bad it turns out, is what makes us good. So make as many mistakes as you can. You will eventually become an expert.
Our minds and more importantly our feelings require mistakes to learn. When mistakes are made our mind reacts physically.
Our minds are constantly searching its surroundings for subtle, predictable patterns we can’t consciously recognize. Our mind, using dopamine nuerons automaticaly detects these predictable patterns and turns them into emotions. These emotions give us our sense of the world. These emotions give us early clues to what is happening around us BEFORE our conscience mind has time to figure it out. Basically, what is happening is our brains signal expected results before they happen. Our dopamine neurons are constantly creating patterns based on experience. It’s like an acute, if this, then that, system deep in our subconscious. The subtle patterns identified by the dopamine neurons anchor us in our world and creates predictability.
So what happens when this predictability is broken? What happens if inconsistent messages are picked up by our brains? Our brains take notice and say “hey, this ain’t right, warning, warning,” and quickly send messages in the form of electrical signals from center of the brain called the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC). This signal is called error-related negativity or the “oh shit!” circuit. These signals happen in the background, away from our conscience mind. Our mind tells us something is wrong BEFORE we know something is wrong and before we know why. It’s the shock or sting of predictability being broken where we learn. When our predictable patterns are broken our mind works effortlessly to find the “new” patterns and anchor them into the subconscience. Every time old patterns are broken and new patterns are established in a particular field, the better you will be in that field.
Physicist Neils Bohr once defined an expert as “a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”
When we make mistakes we give the brain a chance to re-establish the predictable outcomes and the associate expectations. The more mistakes we make, the less time our conscience mind needs to spend thinking. The brain already knows what ISN’T going to work.
To be the best sales person you can, to be the best sales leader, the best sales executive, make mistakes. Let your team make mistakes. Push the envelope. Don’t avoid the unfamiliar and charge ahead. Our minds are built to self-correct. Nature built our brains with the understanding that nothing is completely “predictable” giving it the ability to adjust. Like everything else however, it won’t do it all by itself. You have to be willing to learn, to look for your mistakes, to call them out, to accept them and then learn from them. Our mind wants us to and will reward us for doing it.
The next time you are afraid to challenge a customer, to hold your own in a negotiation, or push the envelope, do it. What you’ll learn will be invaluable, that is, until it’s not. And that is how you become and expert.
Do you allow yourself to make mistakes?
Source: How We Decide, John Lehrer