What happened to the understanding that failure is a valuable, even essential learning phase before great success?

I’ve never known anyone to get anything important done perfectly on the first try… and rarely the second, third, or beyond! None the less, more and more often, we run around feeling like we have to hit a home run every time we try something new.

Today we’ll examine these impulses and see if we can bring back an old friend to progress and a great teacher: mistakes.

Let’s see how EWC’s favorite makes-it-easy-to-digest orator, Michael Stevens of the great YouTube channel Vsauce, has to say about it…

Via: Vsauce 1

So significant events in history, scientific advancement, and even evolution itself find their foundations in mistakes, some of them remarkably positive and others where we find regrets.

I found Michael Stevens’ point about a carving in tree bark to be helpful for those mistakes we might carry as baggage. The wound won’t get smaller, but we can make it a smaller part of who we are.

That’s a great mindset to remember.

Image: a man in a canoe on the edge of a stormy lake

Source: Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

In fact, here’s an interesting technique that we have learned to use in our business, our art and our family lives:

Whenever we make a mistake, we allow ourselves a bit of disappointment, and then we push on and look for potential. It’s really remarkable how often – almost 100% of the time – we can find a new opportunity we never imagined. We call these instances happy accidents.

It’s a matter of calming the negative chatter of regret and getting curious. Poke around the edges and shadows of the new circumstances with a childlike curiosity, no matter how disappointing, and you almost always find an even better way forward.

And as always, here’s a big Ever Widening Circles thank you to the aforementioned Vsauce-man himself, Mr. Michael Stevens, for bringing up this misunderstood topic. Find Stevens’ Vsauce YouTube channel here or check him out on Twitter @tweetsause for more fun, totally SFW factoids weekly.

We love his work!

Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda


  1. “Mistakes.” YouTube. Vsauce, 31 Dec. 2013. Web. 01 Mar. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvKeCcxD3rQ>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.