Indiana Jones reminded us that you don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step. A journey of a thousand miles always starts with a single step. And we know a single step can be both one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.
When we take steps, sometimes we miss the desired landing spots. We make missteps and mistakes and, unless we stop moving and doing, chances are very good we will always make missteps and mistakes.
Sometimes missteps signal inattentiveness; sometimes missteps signal inventiveness.
In the first case, our bodies are used to stepping along without help from our conscious thoughts. When the ground in front of us throws us a curve or presents a new wrinkle, our feet are caught off guard. In response to this new information our feet can misstep, stumble and sometimes cause us to fall. In most cases, our missteps are not deemed to be failures. In most cases, they are accepted as little errors, human errors. Now, of course, that does not apply if we are talking about a misstep from a tightrope over Niagara Falls. Regardless, generally speaking missteps happen and we dust ourselves off quickly and move on. We are skilled at this because we have been doing it since we were wee babies…venturing out with our first steps.
‘Venturing out’: Those words bring us to the second case. Sometimes we intentionally venture out into new territory and even into dangerous territory, exploring and inventing. Some people do walk tightropes, sometimes even over Niagara Falls. Other people take steps to climb mountains, even the tallest and most-treacherous mountains. And some people even go as far as the moon to take a small step. These shoes worn for these adventuresome steps are laced with invention. And, regardless of planning and precaution, sometimes missteps happen. Missteps that happen under high-risk can be catastrophic. Regardless, often, missteps under high risk are not catastrophic. They are informative. They clarify the wrong ways to step, move, do things.
Missteps and mistakes are stepping stones. Far more often than not, they take us to better places. We must not lose track of that. We must not lose curiosity or the spirit that drives exploration and invention.