We are told that failure is an essential part of growth. It is something that we need to accept. If we are not failing often enough and hard enough, then we aren’t making progress. While it is wonderful to be able to make that argument intellectually, it is another thing entirely to respond to it personally. Our obsession with the negative isn’t about embracing failure; it’s about avoiding it. Perfectionism doesn’t reflect an obsession with excellence so much as an intolerance for mistakes. Our brains actively work to avoid situations where there is the possibility of failure, and discourages taking action that might result in pain. Actually embracing failure is directly contrary to that outcome, which means that we’ve got our work cut out for us.
Constructive criticism very often isn’t constructive. We also tend not to receive it well, even when it’s well-meaning—and sometimes even when we ask for it. Part of the problem is with our use of the word “should.” It is a word of judgement, criticism and deflection We probably shouldn’t use it quite as frequently as we do.
It’s always fun to talk about decision making. It’s interesting to delineate between the theory of rational choice and the reality of behavioural deciding. But it’s surprising how enduring rational preferences are.
It has long been asserted that a weakness is an overplayed strength. It is, arguably, how weaknesses actually become weaknesses: we don’t know when to stop, and so we keep on doing what got us there in the first place. Confidence becomes arrogance. Perspective becomes paralysis. Knowledge becomes blinkered. It’s an important concept, even if […]