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In the late 1940s a guy called John Cunningham was a test pilot flying the very first commercial jet plane. He once commented about this new era in transport that he felt that the plane, a de Havilland Comet, would change airline history. He was right ‘cos the DH Comet kept bl00dy crashing!

The interesting thing about the DH Comet’s frequent crashes is that no one knew why they were happening. There simply seemed to be no reason for this plane to break up in the way that it kept doing. Set boffins to stumped! It wasn’t until after the third fatal plane crash with still no explanation or reason that it was finally decided to ground the whole fleet.

A few months later, they found the answer. A simple mistake.

The way I see it, most mistakes are inevitable. They have to be made. Why? Well, because the knowledge to correct them just couldn’t exist without first cocking it up so we can actually realise there is a mistake to be fixed! Does that make sense? How can you fix a problem you don’t know exists?

We are often quick to judge our own mistakes, to criticise ourselves and get down about the things we do wrong when really there was simply no way we could have known to do anything different until the mistake was made. We call ourselves daft and stupid when, given the same circumstances again, we would have done exactly the same thing! We didn’t know any better.

Don’t you see? Mistakes are inevitable, a necessary part of our learning process. The second we allow ourselves the space and permission to cock it up is the second we move into a place of learning, change and personal breakthrough. Would it change how you felt about many things in your life if I simply told you that you HAD to make that mistake because it was the only way you could ever learn how not to make it again. Just like the Comet…

The DH Comet was structurally amazing, a fantastic feat of engineering. It was also a beautiful looking aeroplane with its perfect square windows and sleek lines. Square windows, eh? Have you ever wondered why every single modern plane (and every plane since the early DH Comet) has round windows? Some mistakes are inevitable. They HAVE to be made so that we can discover how to fix them and make sure they never happen again. Square windows on a plane are just one example of that type of mistake.

What’s yours?

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