#22 of 37 Lessons – Make and Learn from Mistakes

Make and Learn from Mistakes – I’m sure it’s not just me, but I always say: “If you’re not making mistakes, you aren’t growing and you aren’t living.” God knows, I’ve made many mistakes and they have made me stronger and wiser. Perhaps we should even celebrate mistakes, because I am thankful for most of the mistakes I have made. I might not have been thankful at the time, but in retrospect, mistakes are good. We all need to make mistakes and let others do the same.

My consciousness of helpful blunders began when I was just a kid. My dad made a big mistake at work. He worked in a metallurgical destructive testing laboratory. They tested the performance of various high tech metals for use in aircraft parts and other critical applications. One day, a lab technician who worked with dad came to him and asked dad to order a pair of tongs to lift tensile strength samples from liquid nitrogen. My dad said, he would, placed the order and waited for their arrival.

Several weeks after placing the order, a truck driver showed up in dad’s office and asked where he should deliver the tongs. Dad said, “Just bring them to my office.” The truck driver laughed and went on to tell dad they were about ten feet long and weighed hundreds of pounds. By transposing a number or numbers on his requisition request, dad ordered a pair of tongs for use with a crane as opposed to a small hand-held pair.

I’m unclear whether the tongs were returnable or not. In the end though, all seems to have worked out, except for ribbing from his co-workers. Shortly after this incident, the management team presented dad with a life-sized cardboard replica of the mistaken tongs. I remember this well because dad brought the replica home and they were around the house for a long-time until they were KonMaried to the backyard where they were eventually destroyed by the elements and found their way to the trash heap.

I’ve made mistakes about a lot of things…relationships, jobs, cars, hiring, restaurants, how much garlic to put in mashed potatoes and much much more. In hindsight, even the worst mistakes made me stronger and I’m happy to have had the experience. If nothing else, they give me stories to tell and warnings to give others in a similar position. 

What mistakes have you made? What did you learn? Get out there. Make some mistakes and grow!