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Since when are we not allowed to make a mistake?

From the Editor's Desk

It is going to happen over the course of someone’s career. Even the highly skilled surgeon who saves countless lives each year, may, in his or her career, make a mistake or two and, given the profession, those mistakes may be costly.

It seems as if the mistake cannot be overlooked, depending on the impact on the individual under the knife. It seems this is one reason insurance exists to protect the surgeon and compensate the family. But it also doesn’t mean suddenly announcing or acting as if the surgeon who saved countless lives is now an idiot, even evil, who should be fired and shunned, despite the countless lives that individual saved before the mistake and will likely save after the mistake.

To err is human.

But say initially that is what occurs. Good luck seeing that course of action, that attitude reversed, because admitting a wrong is a nearly impossible feat for the average individual.

Most of us avoid thinking about being wrong, or are willing to admit that we are wrong.

So those condemning the referees were not wrong.

Of course, until one realizes he or she is wrong, a wrong has not occurred, at least in that individual’s mind.

We tend to assume that we are right and the other individual is ignorant or an idiot.

Instead, we should accept that we make mistakes and that we could be wrong.

From very early on in our development, we are often taught that mistakes are bad, and so is being wrong, something that is reinforced by our parents and even our teachers. Even by doing something so simple as pointing out mistakes on homework and tests, without putting anything in perspective, we are encouraging people to strive to not make mistakes, instead of realizing that to err is human.

So basically the message is don’t make a mistake because you are not human and no one is ever wrong, because it will be no good for anyone involved, unless you are the person who is right, I guess.

On the contrary, I prefer to believe humans are capable of all sorts of beautiful and powerful change and that talking about it is just one step toward evolving. To err is human, and it is possible to step out of that trapped feeling of being right.

Reach Editor Stephen Bartlett at stephen@denpubs.com.

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