"A man's errors are his portals of discovery." James Joyce
According to the legend, the Chinese emperor, Shennong, liked to drink water that had been boiled and purified. One day, while a servant was preparing his water, a dead leaf from a wild tea bush fell into the water, but went unnoticed. The emperor drank it and tea was born.
In other words, tea was the result of a mistake. When you start thinking about this, it seems EVERYTHING we take for granted and enjoy today was the result of someone's mistake.
I was studying the work of Edward de Bono recently, and was introduced to the notion that we don't have a word in English that captures the essence of mistakes that are good. We are conditioned to immediately perceive the word "mistake" through a negative lens.
Mistakes are bad, or so we think. We've internalized this without ever questioning its validity and repercussions. The repercussions of this are huge. A fear of mistakes can cripple our creativity and faith.
After all, if mistakes are "bad," they are to be avoided at all costs, right?
I wonder how many lives have been undermined by this lie? It forces us to ask ourselves whether we are pushing our faith to the point of making mistakes. Are you? I'm not. Maybe we should.
If we taught our children that mistakes were good. Or, better, if we taught our children that mistakes were neither good nor bad, but natural realities like gravity and weather, how much more creatively and boldly would they approach the world?
We don't have a word in English for mistakes that are good and beneficial. I think we've been robbed, my friends. And I think we need to discover that missing word.
Chinese word of the day: Mistake
The characters 错误 make up the word mistake. In Mandarin, to the best of my knowledge, it sounds like "tswuh-oo." The "oo" is pronounced like the "ou" in the English word "you."
Strange and fascinating fact:
Tea consumption dates back to the 10th century BC in China. It's the earliest records we have. Read more here.