I recently came across this story and although some have debunked it, I hope it is true because there is a valuable lesson at the end of it.
It involves Albert Einstein and anytime you put his name in, you know it is going to be good. The story goes that one time, Einstein went into his classroom and walked to the chalkboard without saying a word. The class sat up in their chair and looked quizzingly at each other. He wrote on the board, 9 x 1=9.
He then wrote, 9 x 2=18. Students began murmuring and Einstein kept going. All the way to 9 x 9=81. He then wrote something else that brought ridicule and laughter.
9 x 10=91.
He turned around to see it in their faces and they kept laughing. Once the eruption calmed down, Einstein walked over to the podium and said this.
“Despite the fact that I analyzed nine problems correctly, no one congratulated me. But when I made one mistake, everyone, everyone started laughing. This means that if a person is successful, society will still their slightest, ever so small, mistake. So don’t let criticism destroy your dreams. The only person who never makes a mistake is the person who does nothing.”
Let’s read that last sentence again. The only person who never makes a mistake is the person who does nothing. That is amazingly powerful in just about every single way. Most critics have never accomplished anything and by slamming you, try to make themselves feel better.
Now again, some say this never happened, others said it did but regardless, what a powerful message.
Yes, we should all strive to be as perfect as we can in all that we do, but as I tell people, and I get told, there was only one perfect person to walk the earth. We all make mistakes, some large, some small, but they are still mistakes. I don’t think we intentionally set out to make a mistake and they inevitably happen.
I have written before about part being successful is also celebrating other’s successes. It is not hard to do and it is a wonderful feeling. I used to be that guy who would look at any opportunity to knock you down to make myself feel better and let me say, it is not worth it. A rising tide raises all ships, never forget that.
There is a powerful scene in the movie Days of Thunder with Tom Cruise. At the end, the doctors don’t want him to race because me might have a concussion. He tells one doctor, “I am more afraid of being nothing, then I am afraid of being hurt.”
We are all “something” in amazing ways that you will discover along the way. Far from perfect and flawed but amazing nonetheless. Don’t be afraid to make that mistake because that means you are trying.