How to Reduce the Number of Mistakes you make

by Mike Clayton  - November 26, 2014


In a simple experiment conducted at Michigan State University, students were set a repetitive task and their brain responses were monitored whenever they made a mistake (about 9 per cent of the time). After the test, the students were also asked if they thought that intelligence is fixed or is learned.

It turned out that the students who thought intelligence is learned – the ‘growth-minded’ group – were the ones who made fewer mistakes. They seemed to make better use of the mistakes they made, to learn.

The ‘so what?’

The lead researcher, clinical psychologist Jason Moser, suggests in an interview with Scientific American Mind (Mar/Apr 2012) that we can all increase our growth mindset and therefore learn better from our mistakes. We do this by focusing on the process, rather than the outcome and notice what we did and how it contributed to the error.

When you complete anything of value, take a short time to reflect on what you did, and what you can learn from it. This reflective process is not just the route to learning but, over the course of a lifetime, to wisdom too.


Psychological Science 2011 22: 1484 (2011)
Mind Your Errors : Evidence for a Neural Mechanism Linking Growth Mind-Set to Adaptive Post-error Adjustments
Jason S. Moser, Hans S. Schroder, Carrie Heeter, Tim P. Moran and Yu-Hao Lee

Picture credit: Ryan McGuire (

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Powerhouse, by Mike clayton


My newest book is Powerhouse.

You can learn more about Powerhouse or buy Powerhouse from Amazon:

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