Learn From Your Mistakes

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When we walk in a room and switch on a light, we can be thankful for an unlikely genius named Thomas Edison. We can be grateful for moving pictures and audio recordings as a result of this one man’s perseverance. With very little formal schooling, and numerous mishaps and failures, few people expected young Thomas Alva Edison to amount to anything at all. As a curious boy, he burned down the family stable. As a young man, he lost his job as a newspaper salesman on a train because he nearly blew up one of the train cars with his experiments. As an ambitious entrepreneur and inventor, one of his first inventions turned out to be a colossal commercial failure. Yet he looked at each failure as an opportunity to learn and grow and discover new things.

Edison had a unique drive and perseverance that kept him learning and growing despite his failures and mistakes. He didn’t allow discouragements to linger, rather he pushed forward with curiosity and commitment. And aren’t we thankful? On the 50th anniversary of the electric light bulb, Henry Ford organized a celebration of his dear friend Edison. President Herbert Hoover spoke about the variety of ways that the electric light had made life better, “It enables our towns and cities to clothe themselves in gaiety by night, no matter how sad their appearance may be by day. And by all its multiple uses it has lengthened the hours of our active lives, decreased our fears, replaced the dark with good cheer, increased our safety, decreased our toil, and enabled us to read the type in the telephone book.”*

The light bulb represent countless hours in the laboratory filled with failed experiments and frustrations. When asked by a reporter with the New York Times about the seemingly incredible difficulties associated with developing the light bulb, Edison responded, “I have not failed 700 times. I’ve succeeded in proving 700 ways how not to build a light bulb.” What an extraordinary perspective! Can we look at our mistakes as successes, or are we so caught up in the disappointments and frustrations that we can’t see the positive aspects of our failures? Let’s determine to look at life with and attitude that includes the joy of learning and the opportunity to discover the lesson behind each challenge and mistake.

*Herbert Hoover: “Address on the 50th Anniversary of Thomas Edison’s Invention of the Incandescent Electric Lamp.,” October 21, 1929.

This is an excerpt from my book, Positive Leadership Principles for Women

Lead Photo by Diz Play on Unsplash

Grow – 25 Positive Words, Day 6

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A great question to ask ourselves when we experience a challenge of any kind is, “How can I grow from this?” It is good for us to be open to what God wants to teach us in the classroom of life. As we learn and grow and develop new skills, we can use our gifts to be a blessing to others. Most important, we want to grow deeper in our faith and love for Jesus. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Let your roots grow down deep into Christ.” As we allow our roots to grow deep in Him, we are strengthened and nourished to face both life’s blessings and challenges.

True Positive: Day 8 – Growth

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It’s inevitable. You will experience disappointments, frustrations and setbacks in your life (or day or week). Although these may seem like negatives, you can also discover positives in the mix. Every challenge offers an opportunity to grow and learn – you just have to be looking for it! When we form the habit of saying, “What can I learn from this experience,” we can change any difficulty into an opportunity for growth.

Joseph in the Old Testament offers a tremendous example. In Genesis 37 we read about the injustices and tragedies that happened to Joseph, yet in each circumstance he didn’t sit around and sulk and become bitter – he became better! He learned responsibility as a slave in Potiphar’s house. He learned resourcefulness and service during his years in prison. All these growth experiences prepared him to be second in command of Egypt.

How can you grow and learn from what you are going through right now?

Life Lessons Learned from Newborns

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Last week, my daughter and her husband welcomed their first baby into the world. As Grandma Kay Kay, I had the opportunity to spend a week with this new family of three. My main responsibility consisted of holding the baby while the sleep-deprived parents grabbed a few winks. Can I just say, there is no greater or more precious  in the world than holding a newborn baby. His sweet coos and dreamy facial expressions kept me entertained for hours. As I studied this delicious gift from God, several life lessons seemed to pop into my head. Here’s a few thoughts we can glean from a newborn:

Unique Design – When we look into the face of a newborn, we can see beautiful and individual characteristics, both physically and emotionally. No two babies are exactly the same, but rather they are a reflection of our creator and His extraordinary handiwork. As we consider the people in our lives, may we never lose the wonder of this divine masterpiece. Let us look at every human as a blessing, worthy of respect and love, even those humans who don’t agree with our opinions or viewpoints. And let’s not forget that we too are thoughtfully designed by Him.

Trusted Rest – I loved rocking my grandson till he fell fast asleep in my arms. Holding him close, I thought about the many scriptures that encourage us to rest in the Lord by placing our trust in Him. How comforting and caring are our Heavenly Fathers loving arms! Often in our busyness, we fail to rest in those arms and enjoy His care, strength and love. We scurry and try to solve all our issues on our own. May we take a lesson from these little ones to trust and rest, casting our cares on Him, and allowing Him to hold us.

Expected Growth – As much as I love this tiny bundle of joy, I know he is not supposed to stay this way forever. He is expected to grow, day by day, year by year.  He has a whole future ahead of him, filled with potential and learning. He’s not frustrated with himself because he doesn’t know how to feed himself yet. It takes time to grow into who he will be one day. We too have the potential for growth, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Instead of living with frustration because of our mistakes, may we learn and grow from them. Let’s be patient with ourselves and recognize we are works in progress. We don’t want to be stagnant in our growth, but rather continually growing and learning to be all that God created us to be.

Remember, God is not finished with you yet. The apostle Paul wrote, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Relish the unique way God designed you, trust Him and allow Him to develop you into the wonderful person He created you to be.