I saw some words of wisdom the other day which got me thinking about mistakes. The sign declaring, 'One who makes no mistakes, never makes anything...' was outside the sewing centre situated in the main street. It was an apt quote for a shop that sells fabric and all the equipment needed to create quilts, clothes and the like.
I did a quick internet search and found a very similar quote from Giacomo Casanova who said, 'One who makes no mistakes makes nothing'. In case you are wondering these words come from the infamous womaniser, who lived in the 18th Century and was also an adventurer and writer.
What is the definition of a 'mistake'? The Macmillan English Dictionary says, ' something that you have not done correctly, or something you say or think that is not correct.'
When you are sewing you may not do something correctly. Perhaps you need to undo some stitching or cut another piece of material to fix the error. You may even need to start again. On the other hand perhaps you have created something different and unique.
In many types of craft a mistake can lead to creating a unique piece of work. Perhaps it just ends up being different from the pattern you were following or from the image you had in your mind.
Years ago I did pottery lessons. Initially I had trouble mastering the wheel and was frustrated when yet another pot went off centre. The teacher showed me how to salvage it and turn it into an ashtray. I was glad my Dad was a smoker so I had someone to give my first clay creation to.
Numerous inventions came about because of someone's mistake or something not working out as planned. Just a few things we are familiar with that came about by mistake are penicillin, plastic, saccharine, post-it-notes, bakelite, wheaties and the pacemaker. It may have been that someone didn't clean up properly, dropped something on the stove or used the wrong part. In other situations an inventor was trying to make a particular thing and ended up with a different but useful product.
Sometimes we make a mistake and don't end up inventing something fabulous. However, we may learn from the mistake. We may learn to be more careful. It could be our mistake makes us realise we are trying to do too much or that multi tasking isn't always the best way to get lots of things done. Perhaps we learn to have more empathy for others who make mistakes.
If we frequently avoid doing things out of fear of making a mistake we miss out on valuable experiences. If we give something a go we may get through it without making a mistake. We may make a mistake, or several mistakes but have the opportunity to learn through the experience or by asking others for advice or information.
Making mistakes but getting through the experience can build confidence to give other activities and relationships a go. As the saying goes, 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained'.
Some people do give up because they are upset or embarrassed by making a mistake. However, they may then try something else which works out better for them. Maybe they haven't so much 'given up' as changed direction.
As long as we are fully participating in this learning experience called Life we will make mistakes. If we are doing anything, whether it be cooking, gardening, writing, sewing, playing sport or chatting we will make our share of mistakes. Sometimes we will be wrong and sometimes things will not work as planned. However, it is important to remember, 'One who makes no mistakes, never makes anything,' and just keep going.