It’s Your Brain’s Fault You Make The Same Mistakes Over and Over
Already-created neural pathways make it hard to correct our mistakes going forward.
Okay, this is getting confusing. First we didn't want to make mistakes. Then we realized mistakes are great teachers since they provide us lessons we wouldn't think to learn on purpose—I actually told my five-year-old this last week. And now The Atlantic reports that recent research suggests that mistakes are really hard to keep from repeating. So they're not good. Again.
It has to do with neural pathways that get created as we do things. When we do something right, a pathway is created. Unfortunately, a pathway is also created when we something wrong. We basically build habits this way, both good and bad. So the reason we keep making the same mistakes is that we slip by default back into existing neural pathways.
It's the same phenomenon that means you can only get somewhere by getting lost the same way you did last time, or that you keep putting things down in the same spot until they seem to be lost when in fact they're just underneath the most recent thing you put down.
More significantly, this happens with bigger screwups, like being attracted to the wrong kind of person or other misguided decisions you habitually make. It seems our brains do learn from making mistakes: They learn how to make them.
So—and here's where we contradict everything we thought we knew—it's best not to try and learn from past mistakes because remembering them when we want a do-over encourages our brains to head back down the previous pathway. It's better to think about what we want to accomplish and try to view it from a fresh angle that can lead us down a more successful road. That's a neural pathway you'll happily travel.
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
- Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club
- Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
- It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
- This ability may come from a common ancestor
The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.
- The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
- Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
- Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.
- Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
- The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future.
- One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.