How many mistakes have you made?

mistakeHow many mistakes have you made? It depends.

From one perspective: millions. The step you attempted at eleven months but fell and skinned your knee. Your shame on hearing the gasps in class on announcing a sixty percent pop-quiz test score because you were supposed to be smarter than that. The time when you were so nervous at the interview that IBM turned you down for an internship. Girlfriends you fell for who dumped you. The partner who kicked you out of your solar energy business after five years hard work. The decision to adopt infant twins that led to so much heartache during their adolescence.

From another perspective: none. How else could you found out how to walk without all the attempts and resulting falls? Would you have ever dealt with false shame if you’d never become aware of it? How long would it have taken to discover your dislike for working in large organizations? If your first girlfriend had been the woman who has been your wife for 37 years, how would that have turned out? What other way could you have learned so much about running a business and managing employees in such a short time? Would you have absorbed so many vital liberating lessons about yourself without the hard truths you were forced to confront during the painful process of being a better parent?

All the learning that grows out of every single mistake.

Millions or none? It all depends on your perspective.