Success is built on mistakes

Wisdom can be defined as our capacity to make good decisions. It is also true that our capacity to make good decisions is based on our experience of bad decisions.

One of the regrets people voice in end-of- life interviews is not taking a risk, fear of the opinion of others, of looking bad, staying in their comfort zone, instead of striding out and risking failure.

To quote from Ghandi: “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

Everyone stumbles; we usually dust ourselves off and start again. Simply watching my young grandchildren learning to walk shows this to be true. They try, they fall, get some lumps or grazes, maybe shed a few tears, get up and try again. There is no way of learning to walk without passing through this process of trial and error. Is that not the case in life? In fact, it would be fair to say that a well-lived life is a process of idea, action, consequences, experience and hopefully wisdom. In other words, it is the path of growth and of self-realisation.

The binary view of mistakes − success/failure, good/bad, winner/loser − is so limiting and is simply not the case.  It is far more subtle. “Mistakes” can lead us to the most fortuitous consequences. There are so many examples of this in history. If you have ever benefitted from antibiotics, then you have benefitted from what was initially a mistake, but which led to the discovery of penicillin. The discovery of post-it notes and X-rays are all the result of this process. 

We fall over so that we learn how to get up. In my own life some of the toughest situations, the times of great suffering, recovering from a mistake gifted me the greatest lessons and later wisdom. Make the mistake, understand what happened, recover quickly and move forward. Don’t waste time berating yourself, wondering what others thought or will think.

Rhea and I have been married thirty-two years, something for which I feel deeply grateful. The success and happiness we found together has been thanks in part to the mistakes and learning in previous relationships also within our own relationship.

Creativity is impossible without the willingness to make a mistake.

If you are making mistakes, make sure that they are new ones you! However, repeating the same mistakes means that you probably need to go deeper into yourself to find what your blind-spot is. You need to raise your level of consciousness.

Trust in the process of life.

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