The A2B Journey – 662.0 Miles, CSP Service Rd, Northern Arizona:
Leg 00113 - Little Joe TankToday’s run continued eastward on Black Mesa Mine’s Coal Slurry Pipeline road.  The run ended just south of a small water reservoir called Little Joe Tank.

I tried to research the name of the reservoir, thinking that it might be related to the character from the long running TV show, Bonanza.  However, there is little Google-able history for any of the remote reservoirs in this area.

(BTW, I am taking full credit for inventing the word “Google-able.”)

The Run:
I did not feel like running this morning.  So as I got up and ready for my run, I tried to ignore the silent battle in my head.  I guess that strategy worked.  (Note to self: Continue ignoring those bickering voices in your head….)

Because of early work meetings, my run got off to an early start.  The entire run was quiet with little traffic on the roads and sidewalks.  I got to watch the newly risen sun burn off the morning haze, revealing the crispness and clarity of a new summer day.

The last 2 miles of the run wound through a park where I was greeted by a wonderful handful of folks out for their morning walks. I always run better when I encounter smiling faces.

The Mind (Thoughts While Running):
I woke up in a very mellow state. So, I chose a mood matching playlist to stretch by. Somewhere in the middle of the routine, I caught a lyric that I had not heard before.

“I wish I didn’t have to make all those mistakes and be wise.”
     –      Girl, The Hill, Once the Musical.

The slightly bitter recognition of that sentiment made me laugh out loud. I know what that feels like!

As I started my run, I went through my normal routine of reviewing the daily To Do list, checking the weather, and monitoring my body. After the first half mile or so, my body settled into the run. So I let my thoughts return to the lyrical reminder of the unyielding (and sometimes unforgiving) relationship between mistakes and wisdom.

I wondered if mistakes are directly proportional to wisdom. In other words, does each mistake directly lead to wisdom? Almost immediately, I rejected the idea. If that were true, then homes, schools, workplaces, and especially governments would be overflowing in wise abundance. Clearly not the case…

I tried looking at it from the other side. Is wisdom solely the result of mistakes?  If this were true, then Solomon, the Old Testament king famous for his wisdom, must have lived a life continually immersed in a sea of “Uh-Oh.”  Certainly, he would not have been so popular if folks knew the frequency and extent of his screw-ups.

Amused at my own thoughts, it occurred to me that there is a lot of truth in that last idea. Perhaps a lot of people are wiser then we choose to acknowledge. One cannot see another wisdom as it is hidden in the shadow of past mistakes.  Unfortunate….

As I started up a hill, I returned to the music that started this string of thought. In the song, a young woman recognizes the diametric opposition between the thing that she wants most and some other thing that she strongly desires right now, at the moment. Having experienced this before (AKA a mistake), she knows the choice that must be made. Even so, she still struggles.

So I guess wisdom, in this case, is a function of experience and choice. Wisdom deepens if we choose to honestly examine each choice and its outcome, mistake or otherwise.   After all, what’s a good mistake for if you’re not going to learn from it? Right?

On the brighter side, it is quite common that mistakes turn out to be wonderful things!  Mistakes, while always teaching, often lead to fun and interesting results.  History contains an unending array of happy accidents. (I expect that trend to continue forever.)

In an interview, Billy Joel hypothesized that mistakes are the only truly original thing we do. They make each of us uniquely innovative and creative.  That thought struck such a resounding chord in me. It made me change my personal definition of the word ‘mistake’ from something negative to simply an unintended, yet creative outcome.

As I approached the day’s finish line, I recalled Herbie Hancock speaking of a lesson that he learned from Miles Davis.

“When you hit a wrong note, it’s the next note you play that determines if its good or bad.”
     –      Miles Davis

So, the choices/actions directly after a mistake have power to determine the value and impact of the outcome.  Hmmmm…

Every choice has a result. However, I have just learned that I have some control over what the result of a mistake means in my life. This is very empowering. And perhaps that is one of the crowning gems of wisdom that experience and error offers.

Care to tell about your favorite discovered wisdom?  Please share!
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