Guide More Jolts! Activities to Wake up and Engage Your Participants

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Server Error in Application. Runtime Error Description: An exception occurred while processing your request. Additionally, another exception occurred while executing the custom error page for the first exception. The request has been terminated. Well, that was not helpful! What's an "exception" exactly? Sounds like something rare, unique, maybe even non-fatal in a polite way - yet it occurred twice. And I have no explanation, no resolution! Cut the euphemisms! Let's name this a catastrophic failure, own it, get to the bottom of it, and reboot.

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Failure By Stuart Firestein. It's time Success shared the stage with her sister, Failure. Of course we all want to succeed but, as Stuart Firestein points out in his book, Failure: Why science is so successful , it is our failures that make success possible.

Firestein's primary audience is non-scientists who want to make sense of the somewhat confusing actions of scientists and the scientific methods they use. By describing how scientists use failed experiments to validate a hypothesis, Firestein explains that finding truth in science is an iterative practice.

It's always in process, always somewhat provisional, and always subject to change.


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Yet, even with this uncertainty, we are left with theories to explain the workings of the world around us. This book explains why some people may cling to a theory that has been disproved or why others don't "believe" a theory that is widely accepted. Firestein confesses that this is the fault of the scientific community which has promoted the idea that a proven theory is a final truth. In fact, nothing in science is final because new observations are made, new tools make better measurements, and the field of knowledge expands.

Most interestingly, Firestein describes how even a disproven theory, a failure, can still be useful. The theory of a flat earth became a failure centuries ago. Yet today, we still find it convenient to study a flat map of the earth's curved surface, knowing that the map was created by a satellite in an orbit based on modern theories of physics.

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Thankfully, Firestein avoids the common bromides about failing and trying again or failing fast and failing early. Instead, he offers fresh ideas such as "failing better. He writes, "One must try to fail because it is the only strategy to avoid repeating the obvious. Another of Firestein's observations is that failure in science is as important as success. In fact, sometimes failures are more informative than successes. Failures provoke curiosity. When scientists try to figure out why something didn't work they expand their theoretical explanation. Yes, there are many types of failures worth avoiding that have high costs in damaged relationships, squandered resources, and missed opportunities.

But even though Firestein writes from a scientific perspective, his ideas present a necessary contrast to our non-science, commonplace thinking about success and the value we place on failure. Failure's Ironies Even though its focus is science, Stuart Firestein's book, Failure, has plenty of gems relevant for the science-averse.

Here are a few:. In that space, of not knowing and not understanding, creativity can occur.

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That space is the void of failure and ignorance. Where else can new ideas come from? They are not coming from things you already know - except insofar as those things have created new questions. Answering those questions we look for creative solutions to discrepant events.

Success becomes more successful, and often more interesting, the harder it is to obtain. Failure promotes plurality. It offers more options for understanding complex phenomena. The theory that light travels in a wave is something of a failure because it doesn't fully describe what light does. But the theory that light travels as particles or photons also fails at providing a full description of light. Both theories have their failings; both complement the other. Seemingly incompatible world views can coexist and even provide a more complete understanding when taken together.

Please your reactions to these ironies associated with failure. Failure by the Numbers Making a mistake or being a failure weighs heavily on our self-esteem. We don't like to admit failure. No one wants to be a loser. Even machines don't like to name failure as seen in our Word Story! But coming to grips with failure, especially to the point of embracing it, is important for the integrity of our own ideas. After all, we can't know the depth or breadth of our thinking unless we put it through a test that it might fail. To demonstrate the tendency to protect our beliefs and assumptions from scrutiny, try this activity with a group of friends or colleagues.

You can find many more free activities at www. Purpose: to explore the importance of testing assumptions Time: 5 to 15 minutes Participants: Any number Materials: Flip chart and markers. Procedure: Brief the participants : Tell everyone that you will present sets of three numbers. Their job will be to find the recurring pattern among the numbers in each set. Write these four number sets on the flipchart:. Please see the terms of sale for important information about the use of PDFs. Save when you buy in bulk. Read More Read Less Master trainer Sivasailam "Thiagi" Thiagarajan and co-author Tracy Tagliati introduce a brand-new set of powerful training activities specially designed to get participants to sit-up, listen, and learn to jolt them into a new level of participation, activity, and change.


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