Why are mistakes a good thing?

Have you ever done something wrong and wondered why is a mistake a good thing, or a bad thing?

Mistakes allow us to learn

By making a mistake you are allowing your brain to expand: a mistake allows us to learn how to do something right because if we know how to do something wrong we know how to do it right. This is generally the opposite of what we did wrongly.

We remember mistakes

Remember the time you put on a laundry wash and the colours mixed?
Did you learn how to separate colours? Did you learn how to use a new cycle on your washing machine?
Remember the time when you burnt your hand on really warm water?
Do you now wait until the water has flown for a few minutes? Did you learn that it takes time to adjust, literally?

In short, mistakes are a good thing because we can learn from them. Mistakes happen to everyone. No one on this earth does not make mistakes: mistakes happen to every single human being on this wonderful planet.

Mistakes allow us to feel rubbish because we think we have failed, remember the failure post? Mistakes also allow us to learn, appreciate when things go right. Mistakes, for this reason, are a good thing.

A stressful few days and bad luck

Firstly, apologies to everyone who reads this blog. Since New Year you might have thought I disappeared. Let me tell you why I haven’t been blogging:

  • Over Christmas and New Year I have been at home with my family and friends. So there was a lot of things to do — including being lazy. Maybe time out is required once a year?!
  • The software on my laptop decided to stop working: software failure meant I had to send it off to the manufacturer. Unlucky! This experience made me realise how much I use the internet. I got the odd website on my mobile, of course.
  • I have had several reports for university — so the last two weeks have been ultra busy.

1digitalfingerprint is back

On Monday I hope to get back into the swing of this blog. Most of my deadlines are over, for another few weeks. Hope to see you all soon.

We are too quick with technology!

When it comes to technology we tend to want things now, at this very moment in time. By thinking like this we do not always think of the consequences. This post touches on a few (of the many) reasons why we are too quick with technology, as well as system failure.

US PreCheck system

On Thursday, 25th Oct 2012 a BBC News article identified how frequent fliers could have posed a risk to airlines: frequent fliers could by-pass certain security procedures because technology thought they were always going to stay ‘safe’ travellers.

Furthermore, by using technology too quickly, domestic airlines learnt that their digital barcodes were unencrypted. Unencrypted barcodes are very vulnerable to unauthorised users because they are easier to hack. Unencryption basically opens up a whole program up to the internet because anyone with the skills and access to the site can potentially access the system.

Unencrypted data is basically an open invitation to intruders. It’s a bit like having a house but leaving the front door unlocked — almost anyone can break in.

Boeing and WiFi

A UK newspaper also highlighted in an article one of the most concerning system failures, in my view, because they embraced technology too quickly — boeing.

A few years ago Boeing thought they could give WiFi to their customers flying on Boeing 787. Yes, this would have been ground-breaking at the time by allowing people (a few years ago) to get internet on the move and in the sky, literally! But they soon discovered that having one single on-board network (i.e. a single system would carry the navigation, control, the internet…) could allow a passenger to hi-jack the plane from the passenger deck because they shared the same system. This meant that if someone was granted access to the internet on the 787, they could gain unauthorised access to other areas of the same network — including the navigation system.

This is a bit like allowing a stranger to use your kitchen, it wouldn’t be impossible for this same stranger to use your bathroom: they’re already in! If a passenger had the technical skill set they could gain entry to other systems, even if they were unauthorised — why didn’t they allow passengers to simply fly the plane from the cockpit!

Okay, this was caught on-time but it shows just how quick companies (and us!) are embracing technology.

Terms and conditions apply

We do it all the time, you and I. When was the last time you hit the “I Accept” button at the end of that long contract? Or do you just hit the button and use the service, hoping that you can do everything, such as authorised printing, for example. Are you really allowed to do what you do? Or is it clearly written in the terms and conditions? You know, the ones that few people, you and I (us!) actually read.

Browse safely. Think safely. Think smartly — use technology wisely. It is easy to embrace it too quickly. Doing this can harm you and I. Remember that the balance is important, right?


Post 48:

Different types of failure

To be honest the reason I am writing this particular post is because I had a bad day a few weeks ago at University. It just wasn’t any day though, it was also the day of one of my exams. So on the whole it will have an effect on my academic performance for one unit. Perhaps what made this failure seem worse, and does make it seem worse is that I am still awaiting to see how badly I performed, as I still await my marks.

Then I was thinking (recently) that as a human being, and as part of the human condition we all make mistakes and we all learn from them. More recently I have been thinking that failure itself isn’t just down to one thing there are different types of failures. I am actually not a failure after a bad day!

Emotional failure

I could walk into a room and notice if there were tensions, or if someone was feeling bad without saying. Perhaps life itself (and past experiences) has enabled me to utilize this ‘skill.’ So in many regards that day didn’t make me a total failure simply because I ‘failed’ at an academic level.

Physical failure

On “that day” I had the ability to eat breakfast, I was able to walk to my exam, I was able to be a physical success even though I went into a room and messed up something I knew I could have done much, much better in.

Failure of ‘success’

Perhaps when I was walking to the exam about three weeks ago, I put a lot of pressure on myself?! Perhaps when I was in the exam I was thinking too much about the silly stuff rather than the task at hand – the actual exam.

Fear of the unknown

I went blank a few times – the battle of concentration came to the fore. The actual content became blurred. At the same time I was able to walk back due to other ‘successes’ and actually visualise what I missed out of the exam, and what I should have done. I could actually picture it in my head. Perhaps above all I have learnt that recognising failure is an actual success in itself.

It could have been worse

I survived, I recovered. I could have slept in – I had time management on my side. Perhaps whenever looking at failure in the future, I’ll be able to say

it could have been worse, I have learnt from it

Post 48, over and out