Mistake Driven Learning

In his Copyblogger article How to Stop Making Yourself Crazy with Self-Editing, Sean D'Souza explains:

“Competency is a state of mind you reach when you’ve made enough mistakes.”

One of my continuing challenges is staying informed about the latest trends in data quality and its related disciplines, including Master Data Management (MDM), Dystopian Automated Transactional Analysis (DATA), and Data Governance (DG) – I am fairly certain that one of those three things isn't real, but I haven't figured out which one yet.

I read all of the latest books, as well as the books that I was supposed to have read years ago, when I was just pretending to have read all of the latest books.  I also read the latest articles, whitepapers, and blogs.  And I go to as many conferences as possible.

The basis of this endless quest for knowledge is fear.  Please understand – I have never been afraid to look like an idiot.  After all, we idiots are important members of society – we make everyone else look smart by comparison. 

However, I also market myself as a data quality expert.  Therefore, when I consult, speak, write, or blog, I am always at least a little afraid of not getting things quite right.  Being afraid of making mistakes can drive you crazy. 

But as a wise man named Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel (wisely better known by only his first name) lyrically taught us back in 1991:

“We're never gonna survive unless, we get a little crazy.”

“It’s not about getting things right in your brain,” explains D’Souza, “it’s about getting things wrong.  The brain has to make hundreds, even thousands of mistakes — and overcome those mistakes — to be able to reach a level of competency.”


So, get a little crazy, make a lot of mistakes, and never stop learning.


Related Posts

The Fragility of Knowledge

The Wisdom of Failure

A Portrait of the Data Quality Expert as a Young Idiot

The Nine Circles of Data Quality Hell