Friday, August 3, 2018

Fortune Cookie Friday: The Value of Mistakes

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Hello everyone, and Happy Friday! I hope your week has been great!

Today's Fortune Cookie was sent in by a reader, and it's so great:

Mistakes show us what we need to learn.

How true is that?

I think a lot of us fear making a mistake, thinking that it shows we are incompetent, unintelligent, or incapable of learning.

But there is no shame in them! Mistakes can have their value, too.

Take, for instance, learning to ride a bike. Did you consider every time you wobbled or fell over to be a mistake? Were you ashamed by that? Why? You're LEARNING! How else are you going to figure out how to ride if you don't keep trying—and failing—until you eventually get it?

Maybe you're a distance cycler now, or compete in races, or perhaps you just enjoy riding to work and back. You wouldn't have learned how to ride that bike without falling off a few times.

Here's another example: I'm a pretty accomplished knitter, but do you know how many times I failed at knitting, making seemingly insurmountable mistakes and feeling like I'd never get there? My husband likes to joke about how many times needles and yarn would sail across the room in my fits of frustration—but I always picked them back up again, learned from my mistakes, and mastered it. I now know what to do when I drop a stitch, how to go back and fix an error, and create beautiful garments without sweating it. I wouldn't have been able to do that without making the errors or dropping the stitches in the first place.

And then there are the many inventions that were actually the result of mistakes. How many people have pacemakers that are saving their lives? How many of you have heated up leftovers in a microwave? Did you know that these items were created due to mistakes made by their inventors? I didn't, until now!

So here's my takeaway from all of this: stop being so hard on yourself. Next time you make a mistake, use the pain point as a learning point. Put aside shame and embarrassment; there's no point in dwelling. Learn from it, instead! You can also ask yourself if the mistake has value in and of itself—you never know,  you could have just invented the next big thing!

I hope this fortune was insightful for you. I'd love to read your thoughts on it! Leave me a comment below and tell me a mistake that had value to you: what you learned from it, or if it led to a new discovery in your life.

Until next time, b.e.e. peeps...  🐝🌹

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~


  1. Want to see a video of me introducing this post? Go to the Facebook page!

  2. I said I'd share a story of a mistake or failure that turned into something good, so here it is:

    Remember being a teenager and learning how to drive? Was it traumatic for you at all? Or more likely for your parents? :)

    My dad was trying to teach me how to parallel park on the curb in front of our house before trying it for real out in the world. He'd set up 2 garbage cans on the quiet, suburban street and wanted me to put the car between them. I must've tried it 3 dozen times, but no matter what I did, I just couldn't get my brain to see how it was supposed to work. I can't count how many times I knocked at least one of the cans over, too. By the end of an hour, I was in tears of frustration, and my Dad was probably pretty frustrated, too, so we called it a day.

    The next time I went out on a driving lesson, I think I was with my mom, and she had me try it "for real" on a street with real cars. To say I was terrified is an understatement. I kept thinking of those knocked-down garbage cans and hoped to God I didn't crash into anyone's car. But wouldn't you know, having the real cars there actually helped my mind see the geometry involved! I got it, finally!

    That experience drove me (hah!) to be an expert parallel parker. I can put a vehicle to within an inch or two of another car if I have to, without even lightly tapping them like some people do. This really came in handy when I was DJing in clubs in Washington, D.C. back in the '90s, where I had to park in barely-existent, cramped spaces in the neighborhoods of Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan.

    Now, whether I'm driving a tiny little Fiat Abarth, a big Nissan Xterra, or anything in between, I do not fear parallel parking on a busy city street. :)

  3. Hello, Beth,
    Thinking of husbands, he never lets me live down my first lemon meringue pie, which turned out to be a flop! He loves to tell everyone that it was like soup--tasted great, but needed a spoon!
    What good thing came out of it? Watching my daughter excel as the pie maker in the family; having the grace to let her be better than me at something.
    Even in our professional lives, it's important to give credit where credit is due. Admit our mistakes and weaknesses and let others support us when we need it.
    Thank you, Beth, for finding my weak spots today! :)

    1. Oh Leona, I love your takeaway from that experience! I've had some spectacular cooking failures, too.

      And you're so right; none of us is perfect at anything, so even in business, accept where our weaknesses are and give credit for our strengths, and when things go wrong, find the lesson or the humor! :) Thanks for responding!


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