Moments after capturing our grandson enjoying this fountain in McCall a bikini clad blonde grabbed his full and undivided attention. In an instant he was rocketing down the hill legs and arms flying in every direction toward his goal. Our daughter’s Mom-dar kicked in as she moved to intercept catching him at a dead run just inches from his highly anticipated introduction to this preteen beauty. But the contest wasn't over. He still had the, wriggle like a fish and imagine you weigh 500 lbs, trick up his sleeve but, , despite her own amusement at his insistence, mighty mom prevailed. Still undeterred he struggled to see over her shoulder as she carted him away and with the kind of confidence found only in toddlers beckoned to his newest girlfriend, “call me”.
When we all gathered round I expected him to be a little agitated over being restrained, maybe even frustrated over the missed opportunity or even the unfairness of over-sized adults. But in his mind he hadn't failed, there was no mistake just a different result. Like caffeinated conscious that only a chair- less café could bring he accepted “what was” and moved on to the next solution. With absolute confidence and all the seriousness a three year old can muster he looked at his mom and said; “does she have my number”?
Is a child’s irreproachable persistence simply the inexperience of knowing less about the way things work or more about knowing how things really are?
If we are looking for leadership lessons from the super successful we have to look no farther than our own children (or grandchildren). Children understand the truth that neurobiologists like Jonah Lehrer are just now able to scientifically validate. Mistakes are the ONLY ways we learn therefore mistakes are the precursor to all learning. But do we find any definition anywhere that tells us that mistakes are the foundation of all progress. Instead we define mistakes as “proving unsuccessful; lack of success; nonperformance of something due, required, or expected; subnormal quantity or quality; an insufficiency. Is this what you want your children to learn? Or do you want to teach young and old alike what our grandson new instinctively at three.
Failure: an unexpected outcome providing irreplaceable insight into unlimited opportunities.
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