Mastery and making mistakes

​I’d like to give you a superpower. Not freakish strength. Or human flight. Not the ability to become invisible or talk to animals. Your superpower is this:

You never make the same mistake twice.

Now imagine that your ambition is to be the best in the world at something. A sport. A craft. A profession. If you never make the same mistake twice, what would you do to achieve that goal?

Answer: You’d make as many mistakes as possible, as fast as possible. You’d try the hardest and most challenging manoeuvres possible. 


Because perfection is found in the absence of flaws. You have a superpower that allows you to make a mistake, learn from it and never commit it again. So it’s of huge benefit to you to seek out and put yourself in positions where mistakes are likely.

Do you see why this is a superpower? 

You can be the best in the world at anything faster than ever thought possible. But how fast you develop is tied to your willingness to search out mistakes. Which means that you have to operate at your physical and mental limits. This is the territory that yields the most errors.

But for a normal human being, never making the same mistake twice isn’t possible. We sometimes commit the same errors over and over again. But eventually, we learn from the mistakes we make.

Yet I think it’s beneficial to pretend that we have this superpower. To treat every mistake as a chance for betterment. To hunt them rather than hide from them.

That way, we spend more time at the limit. That way, we put more emphasis on figuring out what we can’t do. Rather than focusing on what we can do, on what we do know, on what is safe and comfortable and risk-free.