The valuable lessons we learn when we fail
“There’s a bit of magic hidden in every mistake.” – Rich Dad
The company, Diamond Fields, was formed to look for diamonds, but the company’s head geologist had made a mistake. Instead of finding diamonds, they struck one of the largest nickel deposits in the world. Their stock price soared upon the discovery.
Levi Strauss headed for the gold fields of California to strike it rich in mining. He was not a good miner, however, so he instead began sewing pants out of canvas for the miners who were successful. Today, you’ve probably heard of Levi’s jeans.
Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times before finally inventing the light bulb for his company, General Electric.
Michael Jordan is famous for saying, “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Each and every one of these success stories has failure and mistakes in common. I believe one of the biggest barriers to success in life, both financially and personally, is our attitude towards failure.
The common view on mistakes
My real dad came from the world of academics, a world where mistakes are perceived as bad and are to be avoided. In the world of education, the more mistakes a person makes, the less intelligent that person is thought to be.
The same is true in the working world. In most traditional companies, the stories I shared above would have resulted in those people being fired. They would not have been allowed to find the magic in their mistakes.
For most people, mistakes and failure are to be avoided at all costs.
Rich dad’s view on mistakes
My rich dad came from the streets. He had a different view on mistakes. To him, mistakes were opportunities to learn something new. To rich dad, the more mistakes a person made, the more that person learned. He often said, “There is a bit of magic hidden in every mistake. So the more mistakes I make and I take the time to learn from, the more magic I have in my life.”
Rich dad used the example of riding a bike to reinforce the idea of magic found in mistakes. “Just remember the frustration you went through as you struggled to learn how to ride,” he would say. “You made mistake after mistake. Then suddenly, you stopped falling off, you began to pedal, the bike kept rolling, and like magic a whole new world opened up to you. That is the magic found in mistakes.”
Stop playing it safe
Most people are trained to avoid mistakes. Rather, they always play it safe.
Rich dad said, “Some of the biggest failures I know are people who have never failed.”
His point was that because people try to play it safe, they never take any risks. And because they never take any risks, they never get ahead in life. They get stuck. Rich dad pointed out that he was successful because he had made many mistakes and had learned something new each time.
And most important, he tried to not make the same mistake again once he learned from it. He called that moving from experience to wisdom.
What’s holding you back from reaching your potential today? Could it be that you’re playing it too safe? The good news is you don’t have to. You are free to make mistakes.
Take a risk. Make some mistakes. Learn some lessons. Gain some wisdom. And see where the magic takes you.
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