It is pouring rain on a spring evening in 1989 and I am looking at the crowd of kids in front of the school. I see Kristen with the older 8th grade guys. I want to impress her with a cool bike trick. I see it in mind...... ride like a blur, jump the curb just before the crowd and fly by and impress her and everyone else!
I had about 100 feet and I got going as fast as I could, it was going to be awesome! I hit the curb, and the curb hit back. The bike stopped and I didn't. I flew in front of the crowd but not how I had envisioned. The older guys helped me up as blood ran down my skinned knees and elbows. Kristen was standing there with her hand over her mouth. I couldn't tell if she was laughing or concerned but she definitely was not impressed. Everyone was asking if I was ok but I just had to get out of there. I tried to laugh it off and quickly grabbed my bike and took off with the rain mixing with tears in my eyes.
I learned a lot that night and hundreds of other nights and days over the years where I've made mistakes that have taught me some of my biggest lessons.
Isn't that what experience is though...having gone through something and come through the other side with real life lessons? In a hiring situation, you want to know that the applicant has been in similar situations, made mistakes and learned from them so they won't make them when they are working for you. Otherwise we would just hire the person who read the most or took the most classes related to what we want them to do. No way, we know that those without experience, are going to make mistakes and we don't want them making mistakes while working for us.
From a teaching and training design perspective, we should try to ensure that our learners make their first mistakes in a safe place, designed to prepare them for the real world. In order to do that, we need to build in real life examples where they can (and should) make mistakes. I wish that I could have learned some of the lessons of that rainy night in a safe, dry place. I still have scars on my knees to remind me.