Learn From The Mistakes Of Others

Learn from the mistakes of others
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“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962) was the wife of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the first U.S. “First Lady” who took a prominent active role in politics. After the death of her husband, she served at the United Nations as a humanitarian and helped wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the presidency of Kennedy, she was appointed as chair of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck once said, “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” But a new study led by Dr. Paul Howard Jones and Dr. Rafal Bogacz of Bristol University, determined that human brains are inherently observant of their competitors’ mistakes. The researchers scanned the brain activity of their subjects who were made to play against a computer. Their neural activity had very little reaction to their opponent’s win but jumped up at the computer’s slip-up. Further data suggest that their brain took notice of their opponent’s mistake and learned from its mistakes.

However, the study does not extend to real life experiences. Although humans have the capacity to learn from others, it is still a matter of perspective. The study at Goldsmiths, University of London suggests that it also has to do with the brain wiring: some people are simply “bad learners.”

More studies have yet to be conducted to fully understand this aspect. It is important to note though that most of the prominent figures in history admit to making a lot of mistakes. To quote Winston Churchill: “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

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