When people are learning something new, I usually hear them say something like, “I guess this will be a process of trial and error and I’ll probably make a lot of mistakes.” It reminds me of a question that I heard Sir John Whitmore ask at a Harvard coaching conference: Is it really trial and error or is it trial and learning?
Why is it so difficult to allow ourselves the space to learn? The need to be correct stifles our creativity and our performance. As Benjamin Zander, Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, said:
“Beautiful music can only occur when the performer lifts his or her sights from simply not playing a wrong note to something more. And it is only by risking hitting the wrong notes that learning results.”
Sometimes it is worth hitting a wrong note as it will –if we are in tune with it — facilitate new learning.