There was a time when I would have NEVER told you what I’m about to tell you.
Even now, as I warm up to the subject just a bit, the butterflies have decided to visit my middle regions. Confession time; I don’t like admitting I make mistakes.
But after almost 60 years on this planet, I’m learning to admit that I make mistakes; lots of them. But it still makes me uneasy to say this publicly. I’m a proud man; way too proud.
It’s fairly easy to admit that I made mistakes in a theoretical sense; “hey, we all make mistakes right? Ha Ha.” Next subject, please! But to admit to a particular mistake…to do that, you have to leave the theoretical and enter the world of cold hard reality. And that’s personal, and painful.
Humility is the precursor to gaining wisdom. If you think you know it all, why take the time to learn anything else? If you never make mistakes, there’s no need to learn from them, right? But if you will humble yourself, admit you don’t have it all together, recognize you do need to learn, embrace the reality that you do mistakes, a whole new world of opportunity opens up to you.
Last year, in one of our very infrequent ice/snow storms, I fell. I’m not sure how I fell. I had both feet firmly on the slick ice pack by my car. I had even reached out to the car to establish another touch point. Three points of contact with the ground and my car should have been enough to keep me from falling, but it didn’t. I went down hard and hurt my shoulder. Just thinking about it today makes my shoulder shrug in remembrance. Painful.
I said I didn’t know how I fell, but I guess I really do know. My feet were on a very slick ice pack. The mistake I made? Don’t walk on dangerous ground. Find a way around that “fall just waiting to happen patch” or change the terrain. Find a way.
So when this year’s infrequent ice/snow storm hit us, I changed my routine ever so slightly. I made sure I didn’t step out on slick ice packs. Last year, I was thinking, “I got this…I even have three points of contact!” And then I fell. This year, I’m thinking, “see the danger and avoid it.” And I didn’t fall.
Are you learning from your mistakes? I’m trying to.