Mistakes are moving wheels. Just like the right calls — they are also full of potential for change. The one and only difference is that the latter (can) brings something unexpected. And of course, no one is ever wanting to make a mistake, be mistaken or misunderstood. Could it be so bad?
In 1492, Columbus came across what he judged to be an island, the Indies. It was such a time of great assurance that Europeans thought that all they knew was already known, written in the Bible; and what they did not know — was not theirs to understand in the first place and God probably had a good reason for that. He couldn’t, anywhere in his mind, admit that he had discovered a brand new continent. It couldn’t be, of course: the world was already and was always made of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Mr. Vespucci, an Italian man who began his expedition in 1499, came across the same “island”. But this was a different encounter thanks to his perspective: he knew this was different, and not only he knew but he was ready to admit that all the knowledge in the world was not entirely in our hands. He was breaking bonds with the Absolute and welcoming Ignorance.
A german fellow, Waldseemüller, read Vespucci’s reports and included his findings into his new version of the map of the world. The map was copied and distributed throughout Europe. Walseemüller had to give a name to the new “island”, after all, it was 1/4 of the world.
In attribution to Mr. Vespucci, he named the continent America, after Amerigo Vespucci.
The one and only difference between Colombus and Vespucci is the fact that the latter was willing to admit he did not know everything. And that means, he was willing to make mistakes in the process. He wasn’t the conqueror who discovered the continent, but he was the man who shed light.
More than half a century later, a considerate number of people is too afraid to be wrong, to make a mistake, to be mistaken and to be misunderstood, add taking chances to this list, since it’s a great door for the unknown and for potentially new mistakes. Oh well, when one is troubled by the listed feelings, it’s enriching to look back at these moments in history and take home one message: Being ready and open for mistakes and to take chances is sometimes the best thing you can do in this world, to the whole world.
We have, somewhere in our mind, connected the idea of mistakes with the christian idea of the sin. It’s time to free those thoughts and change perspective.
Go ahead. Have no idea what you’re doing, break a leg, whatever. You might discover something worth the while while breaking it?
And that’s beautiful.
I’d rather be Amerigo and and have a continent named after me, than be Columbus and be of the idea that we have taken all our chances to know everything that’s worth knowing.