Making mistakes

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It's surprising to me just how hard wired we are to not make mistakes. We stress. We fret. We agonize. We do anything in our power to get it right.

We do not learn from getting things right.

The wrong turn, the mistaken choice, the misunderstanding. These are the mechanisms of learning.

I dislike making mistakes as much as the next, but the older I get the more I value what happens as I extricate myself from the error.

Case in point. This morning I was lost in thought as I trudged up the hill intent on my standard two-mile loop. I made a wrong turn and wound up in front of my son's house without realizing it. My seven-year-old granddaughter, Lucy—still in pajamas and saying goodbye to her dad—wanted desperately to join her 'papa' on his hike. Though I was engrossed in a podcast about music's beginnings and, worse, concerned she'd never make the tough hills, I tepidly agreed.

Seeing the world through the eyes of a seven-year-old was so much more rewarding than my podcast. And she made the hills without a squeak.

She spotted a hawk. Then, a mysterious sound in the bush. We imagined a baby bird living in a hole, hiding from predators, safe and snug.

"Quiet!", she commanded and we witnessed a hummingbird landing on a branch to rest.

She squeezed my hand. "No human has ever seen that in the whole world," she announced, her eyes as wide as saucers.

Treasure your mistakes for what gifts they are. A chance to learn and grow.

I wonder if she wants to go with me tomorrow.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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