Nothing gets our Inner Critic going like the mistakes we make. They get all over that, letting us know how incompetent and dumb we are.

The Inner Critic’s reaction is so immediate, powerful and harsh that it’s hard to recognize it’s distortions and inaccuracies.

The Inner Critic can be strong enough to stop us from making changes or trying out new things. No one wants to feel like a failure.

Here’s Help From two High School Juniors

That’s why I was so excited to hear this Science Friday podcast. Ira Flatow interviewed with two high school student finalists at Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh.

Alyssa Rawinski, a junior at Monte Vista High School in Colorado, has a project could help save the environment.  Mealworms, she demonstrates, can safely digest plastic, offering hope for a solution to one of most pressing environmental problems.

Here’s what she learned about herself during the course of her project:

…It’s really fun to do new things, and learn from your mistakes, especially.

Everett Krall, a junior at Stillwater Area High School, Minnesota, has a project that could change life for the better for people who need a prosthetic foot.

Asked what was one surprising thing he learned from his project, the 17-year old answered:

How much failure can come from something you are extremely confident in.

Later in the interview he added:

You learn nothing from doing something right the first time. Everything you learn in science is done either through failure or learning from failure. And I failed a lot in my project. My final iteration design is my 54th iterational design. [emphasis added]

Take That, Inner Critic!

These two teenagers have it right. Next time your Inner Critic looms over you, stand in your power and remind it:

It’s really fun to do new things, and learn from your mistakes.

and

You learn nothing from doing something right the first time. Everything you learn is through failure or from failure.

 

Photo by Will O on Unsplash