#4 of 37 Lessons -- Make Mistakes

Make Mistakes – I am not making this up. The basis for this blog series is a list that I roughed out on my iPhone while watching football. The list is still a little rough (has 43 items on it and not 37). I haven’t gone back to refine the list and have been writing these blogs based on the original order of the list. The ironic part is that “make mistakes” is the fourth one in the order. I find it ironic because yesterday, I made a mistake. I forgot to write #4, so here I am writing this a day late. I made a mistake.

When I was a kid, the sit-com Happy Days had an episode(s) about “the Fonz” being wrong. Fonzi couldn’t bring himself to admit that he was wrong. It is important to admit, both, when you are wrong and when you are sorry. I am sorry I missed yesterday’s blog. However, today, we will focus on being wrong, a discussion of apologies will come in a later blog.

Unfortunately, many of us are held to a standard of never being wrong and making mistakes. Living by that standard likely holds us back. Part of this comes in our early years of school. We’re shamed for not doing well while high achievers are put on a pedestal. Kathryn Schulz in her Ted talk, On being wrong, says, “So by the time you are nine years old, you’ve already learned, first of all, that people who get stuff wrong are lazy irresponsible dimwits – and second of all, that the way to succeed in life is to never make mistakes.”

Having never been a stellar student, I got over making mistakes early on and I think it helped me become an adventurer. The sting of whatever punishment I may have had to endure quickly faded and I was on to the next thing. Eventually, when people told me, “that’s not right, or you can’t do it that way”, I went out of my way to either prove I was right, and it could be done that way. Of course, this led to many mistakes and having to eat a little crow in admitting I was wrong. Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything”. When he invented a viable light bulb after a thousand or more tries, he said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times, making a light bulb has a thousand steps.” So, me and Mr. Edison have something in common!

I may not be right and I may be making mistakes, but I’m taking action! I’d like to hear from you. What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?

Dan