The Biggest Mistake

l_5877c808254742e986ad6762af59ea91I look back on my life and realize I’ve made some major mistakes along the way.  We try to avoid mistakes when we can.  No one likes making mistakes, whether they are big or small one’s mistakes have consequences and no one likes the fall out.

The way we respond to our mistakes says a lot about our character and how we approach our lives.  Successful people learn that making mistakes is not a bad thing.  Mistakes can teach us what to do and what not to do.

Mistakes are choices we’ve made that haven’t worked out the way we thought they would.  However, the benefit of making mistakes is knowing we are taking an active part in life, we are trying, we are making choices and even though some may wind up being mistakes, if we learn from them then there is still a benefit.

Benjamin Franklin said, “The man who does things makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake of all – doing nothing.”

I thought about that statement today, the biggest mistake being to do nothing.  How true a statement is that? There have been times in my life when I was afraid to move forward, to take a chance for fear of making a mistake.  There have been opportunities that I missed because I took too long to think things through and choose to move forward. 

To live, to really live, is to make the choice to participate, to meet new people, try new things, experience life.  To experience life means to make mistakes.  It’s okay, there may be consequences, but you can learn from the experience.  Just don’t make the biggest mistake by choosing to do nothing, the consequences for that one is called “regret” and regret is a hard thing to live with.

Cherry Coley (c)

Creativity is a Matter of Perspective

Creativity is when you can look at the same thing everyone else does and see something different.

 What is it that makes one person different from another? Why did Benjamin Franklin look at lightning and think, “I wonder if I could capture that power somehow?”  Most people were just enjoying or hiding from the light show and sitting by their candles in the house.

Is it about luck and being in the right place at the right time? Perhaps a little bit, but mostly it’s about training your brain to actually “see” what’s in front of you.  For the same reason we can walk across a field and get highly annoyed at all the grass burrs that get caught on our socks, someone like George de Mestral starts thinking of possibilities and Velcro was created as a result.

So how do we train our brains to “see” what is in front of us?  By setting our intentions for the day to be in a “grateful to be alive and open to the possibilities” mindset, we are more apt to notice things, see things from that slightly different view point that makes creativity possible and ever present. 

 How wonderful to sit and watch small children as they discover things for the first time.  They aren’t prejudging what something is or does; they are reaching out for it, picking it up, or going in for a closer look.  Once they find some secret – like the “jack” inside the box, or the pearl inside the oyster, their face fills with joy at the discovery.

 How much more creative are we when we take the time to enjoy the sunrise, share a sunset with a friend or loved one, taste a new dish for the first time, read a book about a new subject, walk a different path, meditate or pray to calm the spirit, listen to a new kind of music, or travel to a new destination?

 We train ourselves to see when we practice feeding our creative and spiritual aspects of ourselves.  So do something different, don’t get upset whatever it is doesn’t go as first planned, just go with the flow and see how things turn out.  Who knows what you might discover along the way. 

 Cherry Coley ©

Stick Like Glue

“Be like a postage stamp, stick to something until you get it there.” – Josh Billings

 I ran across this quote the other day and thought, wow that’s a powerful statement in just a few words, and it’s full of so much truth.

 The value of a postage stamp doesn’t mean a thing if it loses its grip and comes off before it’s really needed.  The package that it was attached to would never reach the intended destination or any other destination.  The package could potentially just be stuck in limbo indefinitely.

  Our goals and dreams, no matter how ambitious, become useless if we don’t stick to them like glue and see them through to completion.  Where it’s a cure for cancer or the building of a bridge, neither will actually come into existence if we don’t first dream, then plans, then pull in the resources needed to pull it all together, then take the actions necessary to see the plans through.

 Like the $100 postage placed on a package it doesn’t mean a thing if your glue isn’t any good and the stamp comes off. 

Dream big, plan well, and DON’T GIVE UP!! 

Just because something doesn’t work doesn’t mean it’s a failure.  The only true failure is in not taking the action in the first place.

Cherry Coley ©

Wisdom: A Gift To Be Treasured

Have you ever noticed that it is easier to give advice sometimes than to take it when we need it?  Funny isn’t it?  Yet at some point in life we are all guilty of this same thing whether it’s because of pride or just because the advice, though sound, is not what we want to hear so we put it aside for a bit and stumble on trying to prove it wrong.  I have on occasion caused myself to trip up in many ways by not heeding good advice when I should have.

My youngest daughter found a little notebook full of poems and thoughts I had written when I was about her age.  I have to say, I sounded like I knew what I was talking about on some things, though I read it now and think, “Wow, if you only knew how true those words were!” 

Was I wise?  Well, wisdom is the ability to discern or judge what is true, right or lasting.  Wisdom includes insight, common sense, good judgment and more importantly, being able and willing to act on those things.  Not sure you can have a lot of real wisdom at age 14. I can only say that even at a young age I was a listener, a people watcher and quick to notice and understand things. Being shy helped too, I suppose, in some ways.

I think Benjamin Franklin was one of the wisest people from United States history.  He was always spreading little tidbits of information, wisdom with a dose of humor thrown in.  The man had a profound impact on history, people and the nation in every aspect!  He is one of the people I love to learn and read about because he had such a unique and daring personality.  There are many throughout history that have passed down wisdom and experiences for us to learn from.

As for me, I learned a lot about life, families and friendships from the grandma’s in the quilting bee at church.  I loved to sit underneath that huge stretched quilt and watch them sew the fabric, piece things together and talk the whole afternoon about anything and everything going on in their lives.  They wove stories together in the same way they pieced that quilt together.  I loved listening to them work things out and give each other advice.  The older women mentored the younger women.  What’s more is they knew I was there and if they wanted to be sure I understood something, one or two of the ladies would peek underneath the quilt and ask me if I understood what was being said.  If I didn’t then they would have me come up topside, sit in a chair and explain it to me.  I learned so much from my group of adopted grandma’s. 

Was I always wise in my actions? I am human and like most humans, many times, years later I will remember some tidbit someone told me, or a quote I heard along the way, right about the time I have committed to some stupid action that will take a fair amount of time to clean up.  Then the lesson and wise advice from long ago will be ingrained in my memory, become a bigger and more prominent part of me (I hope) because I hate it when I don’t learn my lesson the first time and repeat the same choice which ultimately ends in the same results. 

In all of this I have realized that wisdom really does come with age.  Though we may know the right thing to do, it doesn’t mean we will always do the right thing.  Failures are not permanent, and mistakes are not final.  Wisdom is sometimes hard-won and when asked it is passed on to fellow travelers on this journey. 

So, if you are asked for your advice, please be honest and be kind enough to share your experiences and wisdom along the way, don’t worry if your words aren’t accepted or approved of the way you think they should be, that’s not the point anyway.  The person you share them with was put in your path because they needed to hear them, the choice is still theirs and they will either learn from your lesson, or be taught their own.

Cherry Coley ©