Trial and Error

Doing things over and over again, learning as we go, until we get it right

The way to succeed is to double your error rate. Thomas J. Watson

To me, error analysis is the sweet spot for improvement. Donald Norman

You don’t learn from a situation where you do something well. You enjoy it and you give yourself credit, but you don’t really learn from that. You learn from trial and error, trial and error, all the time. Suzanne Farrell   

  While it is nice to get something right the very first time, it may not be all we may think it is. When things come too easily, we do not appreciate it nearly as much. More importantly, we do not seem to gain as much wisdom and understanding when we get there too easily as compared to enduring some trial and error beforehand. There is something about our human condition that facilitates learning through trial and error, the school of hard knocks, and if at first you do not succeed, keep on trying.  

  Our brains are equipped to process information, think through alternatives, learn through mistakes, and then try something different. It is a process that works very well for us. Through the process of trial and error; coupled with not giving up and not quitting, there are few things we cannot accomplish. Some of us might not be super-efficient; make more than our fair share of dumb errors and mistakes, but if we persevere, learning through each trial, trying something new and improved, chances are we will eventually get it right. Many of us are not using this great error correcting technique as much as we should. Often, we quit too soon. Success may have been only one more trial and error away.

    It is very probable every one of us has successfully utilized trial and error multiple times. Learning to walk, ride a bike, drive a car, go on a date, getting a job; are a few examples of where trial and error may have worked. Some are better at this than others, but nearly everyone knows how to use this technique. The point is we should always be doing something, seeking, accomplishing; trying to become a better version of ourselves. Making mistakes and falling down is only part of the process. It is all part of getting us where we should be in the end.

    We should not be overly afraid of mistakes, reversals or setbacks. These are all part of our growth and development. What matters is having a mentality that we keep at it until we get it right, get where we want to go, or accomplish whatever it is we have our sights set on. We try, make errors, learn from the errors, make a new attempt and get closer than we did the last time. Eventually we will get there. It does work.


Challenge: You have had successes in your life that were achieved as a result of using trial and error to get you there. There are more successes to be had by doing better job of incorporating this concept into your personal drive and motivation. If the fear of not getting it right the first time keeps you from trying something, you are missing out on much of what your life is offering you. Be more conscious of the trial and error process.


Wisdom: Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress. Bruce Barton  

Spiritual: (NIV)

God instructs him and teaches him the right way. Isaiah 28:26


We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

God does not always expect us to get things right the first time. He knows us much better than we know ourselves, our true motives, shortcomings, weaknesses, everything that can be known, he knows. He wants us to keep trying until we get it right. This is very true of our spiritual lives. The Bible tells us we can never get life right until we enter into a “right” relationship with him. That is a decision each one of us must choose to make.


Prayer: Help me to never give up or lose focus on becoming the person you want me to be.  


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