This is a story taken from Jack Canfield‘s book, The Success Principles.
It’s about a famous research scientist who was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter who asked him why he thought he was able to succeed so much more than the average person, to be so much more creative than the average person?
He responded that, in his opinion, it all came from a lesson his mother taught him when he was two years old.
He’d been trying to take a bottle of milk out of the refrigerator, when he lost his grip and spilled the entire contents on the kitchen ﬂoor.
His mother, instead of scolding him, said, “What a wonderful mess you’ve made! I’ve rarely seen such a huge puddle of milk. Well, the damage is already done. Would you like to get down and play in the milk before we clean it up?”
Indeed, he did. And, after a few minutes, his mother continued, “You know, whenever you make a mess like this, eventually you have to clean it up. So, how would you like to do that? We could use a towel, sponge or mop. Which do you prefer?”
After they were ﬁnished cleaning up the milk, she said, “What we have here is a failed experiment in how to carry a big bottle of milk with two tiny hands. Let’s go out in the backyard, ﬁll the bottle with water and see if you can discover a way to carry it without dropping it.” And they did.
The little boy learned that if he grasped the bottle at the top near the lip with both hands, he could carry it without dropping it.
What a wonderful lesson! The scientist then remarked it was at that moment he knew he didn’t have to be afraid to make mistakes.
Instead, he learned that mistakes were just opportunities for learning something new — which after all, is what scientiﬁc experiments are all about. Even if the experiment “doesn’t work,” we usually learn something valuable from it.
That bottle of spilled milk led to a lifetime of learning experiences — experiences that were the building blocks of a lifetime of world renowned successes and medical breakthroughs!
Have a wonderful evening folks…! 🙂