Creative error

  Teammates of hockey star Wayne Gretzky occasionally see the odd scene: Gretzky wrestling while practicing alone on the ice. The world’s greatest ice hockey player falls like a schoolboy, and while the scene may seem surprising, it’s actually totally plausible. Although Gretzky was proficient at skating, once he made up his mind to improve himself, pushing the limits of his abilities with all his might meant Gretzky would try, fail, and try, as foolish as it might seem.
  It’s not fun to feel stupid. But the willingness to be stupid and to risk the pain of being wrong is absolutely necessary, because the constant “try, fail, try again” is how the brain grows and makes new connections with the outside world. Remember, when it comes to talent development, mistakes aren’t really mistakes, they’re signposts that guide your progress.
  There are places where students are encouraged to make “creative mistakes”, which is a way of establishing rules that encourage students to do things that may be strange and dangerous to others – in effect, pushing students to the edge of their abilities sweet zone.
  Businesses do the same. Google offers employees “20% time,” where engineers can spend 20% of their work time on private, unsanctioned projects they’re passionate about, where they’re more likely to take risks. I’ve dealt with many businesses that have employees sign a “contract” that ensures they’re willing to take the risk of making mistakes. The Washington-area e-commerce company life community offers employees a rule of thumb: Make the decision that scares you at work once a week.
  Regardless of the strategy, the goal of this approach is the same: to encourage people to achieve their goals and to redefine mistakes so that mistakes are no longer simple judgments of right or wrong, but information that guides you in the right direction.