Building resilience by admitting a mistake

April 21, 2009

A big chunk of my online time is spent promoting critical thinking/creativity-over-destruction ideas…

e.g. Phil Zimbardo’s Ten Steps to build resilience and resistance.

And here’s a real-world reason why.

The BBC news headline reads:

Cheney enters ‘torture’ memos row

and a quote is as follows “Former US Vice-President Dick Cheney has urged the CIA to release memos which he says show harsh interrogation techniques such as water-boarding work.”

Fortunately, President Obama seems to have read  Zimbardo’s Ten Steps

(especially Step #1 –  admission of our mistakes)

Obama has acknowledged that the interrogation techniques were torture, and he has banned them. Here’s his quote from the same article:

“Don’t be discouraged that we have to acknowledge that potentially we’ve made some mistakes. That’s how we learn.”

That’s how we learn! – as educators, (and in our personal lives) let’s work to model that.

More from Zimbardo’s Step #1:

“Don’t continue to put your money, time, and resources into bad investments. Move on. Doing so openly reduces the need to justify or rationalize our mistakes, and thereby to continue to give support to bad or immoral actions. Confession of error undercuts the motivation to reduce cognitive dissonance; dissonance evaporates when a reality check occurs. “Cutting the bait” instead of resolutely “staying the course” when it is wrong has immediate cost, but it always results in long-term gain.”

Wow! Long term gain in compassion, peace, stress relief, conflict resolution….  things that point to a kind of sustainability the world hasn’t been seeing much of lately.