Did you know October is National Cookie Month? It’s one of our favorites and we're guessing it might be one of yours. Numerous surveys show Americans prefer chocolate chip cookies more than three-to-one to other cookies. But did you know the chocolate chip cookie is a result of a mistake?
A yummy mistake
Ruth Wakefield was trying to make chocolate cookies. While mixing a batch she discovered she was out of baker's chocolate. So she broke sweetened chocolate into small pieces and added them to the cookie dough instead. She thought the chocolate would melt, but the little pieces did not melt, and chocolate chip cookies were born!
How do you treat mistakes?
Has anyone ever said to you, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” or “Learn from your mistakes”? Although we may have heard these phrases many times, do we really believe them? Aren’t mistakes usually frowned upon, and in some environments, even punished?
Mindset of mistakes
How we treat mistakes is crucial to the development of an open and flexible mind. And isn’t this the kind of mindset that leads to personal and professional happiness and success? When we make mistakes there are several steps that can become habits for turning them into learning experiences:
1) recognize and acknowledge
2) apply creative thinking
3) choose another way or next step
4) reflect on the outcome
5) decide if you are satisfied or
6) cycle through the process again
These habits of mind build resilience and self-confidence. The alternative is letting mistakes derail us - getting stuck in unhappy or unsuccessful modes of thinking.
Trial and Error
Trial and Error is how most of us learn best, especially when we are young. It’s our reactions to the Error part that makes the big difference. The world is full of examples where the Error (mistakes) eventually turned into success. It’s the basic thinking behind the Scientific Method that leads to innovative discoveries. It can also be as simple as looking at one thing (a mistake) and seeing something different.
As we mentioned in the last blog, serendipity is often described as synonymous with fortunate accidental discovery – sometimes initially viewed as a mistake. From Teflon to Velcro, from Cornflakes to Post-It Notes, there are stories about how a set of seemingly random circumstances led to a chance discovery.
An important way of fostering creativity is to help young thinkers begin to look at their mistakes differently. Who knows where developing this type of thinking will lead? You may be planting the seeds that lead to the next big scientific discovery! Remember, as Steve Jobs said, “You don’t have to change the world to make a difference.” But this also reminds of a lyric from Blake Shelton, “It’d sure be nice if you did.”
Creativity Tip of the Week
Make a sign or design a magnet or two for your classroom or your child’s room that says, “Guesses are free” or “Fail Faster!” or “Oops!” This will go far to help create a psychologically safe environment where mistakes are truly treated as learning opportunities.
The Most Important Thing:
1. Chocolate chip cookies started as a mistake
2. Treat mistakes as learning opportunities
3. Mindsets change the way we live and learn
4. Trial and Error is a good policy
5. Our job is to plant the seeds
Live creatively and prosper,
Rick & Patti Shade
Curiosita Teaching™, Founders
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
~ Albert Einstein
Rick’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
- Dissolve baking soda in hot water.
- Add to batter along with salt.
- Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts.
- Drop by large spoonfuls onto uncreased pans.
- Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.