Reevaluate your relationship with mistakes.
~Melanie Rothschild in The Art of Mistakes
All of us experience disappointment, and perhaps frustration, when we make a mistake. We may become discouraged and think that the mistake points out that we aren’t smart enough or talented enough—that we just don’t have what it takes.
Not true! So stop that stinkin’ thinkin’ right now!
Here’s a short list of “mistakes” that bring enjoyment and fun into our lives:
During World War II, scientist at GE were trying to come up with a replacement for rubber, since there were shortages. It didn’t really work for what they wanted so it was shelved. It wasn’t until after the war that a marketing consultant to a toy store owner saw the potential and packaged it in eggs and named it Silly Putty.
Again during WWII, an engineer in the Navy noticed how torsion springs bounced and wiggled when they dropped to the floor. He took the spring home and showed his wife who saw the potential of it. The sales of the toy took off in 1945 when it was demonstrated at Christmastime at Gimbel’s department store.
In Saratoga Springs in 1853, a chef was exasperated by a customer who kept sending back his plate of fried potatoes saying they weren’t crispy enough. Finally, the chef cut the potatoes as thin as he could and fried them until they were crisp and curly. He then put salt on them and sent them out to the customer. The customer was thrilled and the chips became a big hit.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
In 1930, an inn owner ran out of baker’s chocolate to make cookies with to serve to her customers. She substituted semi-sweet chocolate that she cut into chunks, thinking the chunks would melt. They didn’t. But the resulting cookies were a triumph!
Legend has it that a cook in China was experimenting in the kitchen with ingredients that were commonly at hand back then. His new recipe, instead of being a tasty treat, exploded in a spectacular display!
Mistakes are trying to show you something—to gift you with a gem. Take the time to look for it!
Your homework is to look at your mistakes from a different point of view. Instead of berating yourself and feeling discouraged, analyze the “mistake” and figure out what’s good and helpful about it, how it can be used in another way, and how it can help you move forward.
You never know, you might invent something that changes the world!
You can do it!
I’m proud of you!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
PS For extra credit, do your own Internet search for inventions that started out as mistakes. Make a list and keep it handy for inspiration the next time you make a “mistake”