Saturday, May 30, 2015

Love to learn - A lesson in gratefulness

I remember in school, I use to fail at tests. I was marked as a bad student, because I didn’t do well on exams. However, on the final at the end of the year, I would do remarkably: Why? Because I learned from my mistakes: My grades weren’t all that great until I hit college, but they were passing.

As with a lot of people, I have had several “setbacks” in life, and to look at me know – one might presume I am not successful, but if we look at failure as the end or something that stops us in our tracks; then we are losing out on learning opportunities. However, if we look at failure as the next rung in the ladder, we will soon ascend to the top. I might not be a success yet but I am still climbing that ladder.

My wife’s grandmother sometimes needed some assistance with some work around the house: This one weekend, she needed us to get her air conditioning working, clean out her gutters, trim the bushes and she wanted me to install a ceiling fan in the dining room.

We worked diligently throughout the day, and it came time to put the fan in. Now I must clarify - I am not an electrician. However, I loved Grandma, so I did what I could to assist her.

I do know enough about working with electricity to turn off the power, so you don’t electrocute yourself when you are going to be holding exposed wire. Because her electrical box was not labeled, I decided to just flip off the main. 

My wife, children and Grandma were outside eating popsicles, while I was in the kitchen working. It was in the middle of summer in Arizona, so it was hot outside, and it was going to get uncomfortable quick inside without the air conditioning on: I knew I needed to work fast. I climbed up on the ladder, and took the light down and exposed the wires, and then I started putting up the ceiling fan. 

From the other room I heard Grandma say “I thought the cooler was working… Oh I see the problem.” I was holding onto the wires when she said that, and the next thing I remember is laying on the floor in the living room - on my back - saying “Oy, oy,oy.”

I learned from that mistake, I learned to communicate with everyone on what I was doing: Especially with electricity. My children took a lesson from my incident at Grandma’s house, and as far as I know, none of my children have electrocuted themselves.

There are things that we must employ when it comes to learning from failures, to be grateful and to learn from everything, not looking at failure as a stop, but more of a learning opportunity. How much better could we be, as humans on this great blue ball, if we would just take a step back and learn from our mistakes, and learn from the mistakes others made as well? 

I will admit, there are sometimes when a mistake can be catastrophic, and failing could result in death; like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. This you cannot learn from, especially if you are the one doing the jumping. However, we aren’t faced with life and death decisions every day; we can learn from everything around us, but only if we choose to pay attention. 

By: T James Pickard at