Super Mario Effect

Have you ever heard of the Super Mario Effect?

When YouTube star and former NASA engineer Mark Rober challenged 50,000 people to a basic coding challenge, he learned something profound.

Half the participants were given penalty points if they made a mistake. The other half were simply told ‘That didn’t work. Please try again.’

Interestingly, the group that faced the risk of penalty points had 16 points lower overall success rate.


They tried far fewer times. They were far more reluctant to learn from failures. They ‘played’ less with the challenge.

This insight made Mark reflect on his early days of video gaming. Together with his friends, he would keep trying over and over to beat games. Their focus was always on the end goal, never their failures along the way.

He coined this ‘The Super Mario Effect’, named after his all-time favourite game, and it’s a powerful reminder of the difference between ‘learning from failures’ and ‘focusing on failures’.

Fear of failure kills creativity and limits our learning.

An important life lesson from an 8-bit Italian plumber.

Read More here

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