What do you mean…. you “failed”???

Scientists are people who learn from failures. No, wait, they grow from and even thrive on failures!
I am talking about those experiments that ‘fail’ not because of technical errors but because of the results not proving the hypothesis. I frequently had students telling me that “the experiment failed”. Asking what they meant, they would go on to say that “the results do not support our hypothesis!” Agh, but I always get excited when that happens! If I could have guessed everything that would happen, I would not spend the time and resources to perform an experiment. So, this kind of failed experiment makes one think: ‘Was my assumption wrong? is something I did not consider or realize existed at play here? could I have designed the experiment better?’ Any of these questions usually becomes the source of inspiration for the next experiment and many times the reason for a major breakthrough. So, if you think you are stuck because your experiment ‘failed” and you hit this imaginary wall, feel free to use my trick: envision that there is a door built in this – and every! – wall. So you’ll just have to find it… it is not very obvious (others would have already marked/used it). Hey, why would they call it re-search otherwise?
Seems that the rest of the world is finally catching on… Citing from the research done by Dr. Carol Dweck, professor at Stanford University, Peter Bregman states : “People with a fixed mindset like to solve the same problems over and over again. It reinforces their sense of competence. But if you believe your talent grows with persistence and effort, then you seek failure as an opportunity to improve. People with a growth mindset feel smart when they’re learning, not when they’re flawless.” Even CEOs are now picked based their ability to fail and learn from it.
So go ahead… “fail”! You’ll learn a lot. If need be, dust yourself off and be on to your next learning adventure. Better yet, this might open the opportunity for a big “aha” moment and you might stumble upon your biggest discovery. I can’t even imagine getting there but simply confirming a well behaved train of thought…

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