Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Do Not be Afraid to Fail

by Peter Kim

During the PTK conference, key note speaker Mr. Scott Stimfel gave us one simple task: in 15 minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be balanced on top of the structure. Each team began to build structuring and collaborating with team members, but as time ticked down to the end, a lot of teams’ structures crumbled. At the end, most teams failed to build a free standing structure or could not build a 20 inch tall structure which could support the weight of a marshmallow.
After this activity, the keynote speaker told us why most of teams were having difficulty building this structure or completing this task. Mr. Stimfel displayed a chart that showed that recent graduates of kindergarten had a better success rate than college students or graduates in accomplishing this task. The reasoning was that, adults made plans, but little children first tried one attempt to figure out errors in their models. This “testing” model led to better results. However, college students and other adults tend to plan too much before even trying, which means that a flawed model is not discovered until it is too late. This activity taught us that the problem is that people make plans, but do not test them out often enough. It is not always guaranteed whether the decision or model will be successful or not until it has been tried.
 The Marshmallow game demonstrate that we should use more trial and error in developing our plans since trying new projects or working with knowledge of previous successes or failures really helps out. I believe that planning ahead it is always good, but starting to act on your plan is more crucial. If something goes wrong, then you start again so you do not get frustrated by failure of your plans to be successful.

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