Posts Tagged ‘triumph’

Day 03: Mistakes Happen

24 March 2010

Dear J-

We spent much of the day failing at our assigned tasks and consequently learning quite a bit; there’s nothing like a little mistake to make you re-examine why you’re doing something, and why besides. After all, most of what you learn from success is how it feels, not necessarily what you did right to get there. First, though, a word on what we did: the first part was passing our team through a web obstacle; the second, we went around a playground balance course with tightwires and balance beams. More time outside, and therefore more fun, right?

Inside class we ran a blind maze — the instructors laid out a grid and controlled our movements by buzzing us out when we stepped on the incorrect square (they had secret maps laid out to show safe paths). Therefore it was an exercise in trial and error; if anyone says that they never learned from their mistakes, either they’re perfect or a liar. I will say that the key mistake we made was in communication; the surprising result that made the maze simple could have been uncovered by keeping everyone informed.

Outside class we ran the activites above — passing the team through the web was simple so long as you kept your wits about you and tried not to spoil the soup with too many cooks. But it was the playground maze that taught us the deepest lesson today; it’s okay to fail. Ultimately, we didn’t fail the assigned task, but we did have to reset early on, which caused us to refocus our energy as a team, rather than a collection of individuals wending their way through an agility course; suddenly it was less about getting through and more about getting them through. It’s a subtle lesson, but one worth making explicit: success depends on the entire group’s focus.