Friday, December 2, 2011

Mistakes Create Opportunities

I think I’m like most people. I hate making mistakes. They are time consuming and just plain frustrating.  If I’m really honest here, I am very hard on myself when I make mistakes. I’m way more genuinely understanding of a stranger’s mistakes, than I am of my own.

I pulled up to the roundabout on the way home from a thread run to Spotters this morning. My first thought, as I look at the car on my right was “go! you’re missing your chance!” and of course it didn’t go…. so I grabbed the opportunity & floored it.

And then it hit me: wow! mistakes create opportunities…. and it got me thinking about how many mistakes in my life have turned into learning experiences or something amazing?

I’m just like everyone else,  I don’t take making mistakes very well at first. One advantage I do have is that I was bought up in a solutions oriented family, so I’m adept at tweaking things to make them work…. or perhaps I just make a lot of mistakes and have evolved into a fix-it person.  When I first started sewing, the majority of my “Oh Wow!” creations….. yep, they were mistakes!  These days, sewing every day, I try to find new and more efficient ways to put things together and I have to admit, most changes I make I come across accidently because I cut something too short or too long or sewed it upside down. My favourite linen/silk top fits better because, years ago, my dad kindly & lovingly did my washing for me and not only machine washed it but then put it in the tumble dryer. After I stopped crying I tried it on. A silly little thing that helped change the way I looked at mistakes. Even in my personal life, one of my bigger mistakes bought about my best creation EVER & such joy & love & blessing that changed my life forever in the most significantly awesome way that I can only ever be grateful for that mistake.

And then it got me thinking….. what other unexpected discoveries have been made by mistake? So  I googled:
·         The Slinky, Silly Putty, Play-Doh - the inventors of these childhood amusements discovered them by chance while trying to discover or invent other things.
·         Cornflakes – boiled wheat was accidently left out for too long & became brittle
·         Potato chips - to spite a customer who complained that his fries were cut too thick, this guy sliced a potato paper-thin and fried it to a crisp. And the customer loved them!
·         Penicillin - Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming was researching the flu in 1928 when he noticed that a blue-green mold had infected one of his petri dishes – and killed the staphylococcus bacteria growing in it.
·         Artificial Sweetener - because a couple of scientists forgot to wash their hands.
·         Popsicle - invented by an 11 year old, by mistake, who kept it secret for 18 years.
·         The invention of the humble Post-It Note was an accidental collaboration between second-rate science and a frustrated church-goer.
·         Superglue

·         Teflon

·         Vaseline

·         The Microwave

So I guess James Joyce (he’s the Irish novelist & poet who wrote Ulysses) was right when he said “mistakes are the portal for discovery”
Have a great day everyone, I’m off to make a few more mistakes…. I mean potential discoveries  J

Kate xo