Resolving the Wrong Notes

“It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.” – Miles Davis

When the doors of Kogen Dojo opened, after a lot of anticipation and hard work, we had a brief moment to step back and really appreciate what we had built. We had so much support and help through the process and, because of this, we finished what needed to be done on time, just barely on time. It was a mad dash that seemed to take forever. Finally, classes were running, people were training, and we got to see our vision come to life. I looked at my friend and partner and said, “A lot of things had to go very right and a lot of things had to go very wrong to get us where we are today.”

People often see mistakes and failures as roadblocks along their path, stopping them from getting to where they want to be. This is only true if we let it be so. Mistakes and failures are lessons. They are gifts. They tell us what not to do and who not to be. They are not roadblocks, but signposts pointing us in new, better directions. They do not block our path. They are the path itself. The things that go wrong are just as important as the things that go right in getting us to where we want to or are destined to be.

Even with the best of intentions, we all make mistakes and we fall short of our ideals and our goals. Our mistakes do not define us though. It is what we do next that defines who we are and who we will become. It is how we resolve our errors, our transgressions, and our mistakes that puts us on the side of the angels or the devil, as a friend likes to say. If we want to do great things, we will fail many times along the way. What we do with these failures is what defines our legacy. If we have a mission and a vision and if we stay the course, a lot of things will go very right and a lot of things will go very wrong, but we will get where we are going.

 Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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