When I was twenty-seven, I loved to throw a tennis ball high into the air and watch my dog, Cider, follow the arc. She’d look up, then surveyed the terrain to determine exactly where she should be in order to catch the ball when it came down.
Cider was one of life’s ordinary gurus who taught me the importance of admitting when I made a mistake so that I could course correct. She would run to the right, stop and realize that she’d run too far, then adjust. It was the fact that she knew she’d made a mistake that allowed her to immediately adjust her actions.
These small corrections could occur several times before the ball came down and Cider would celebrate each correction by barking. I think she found making corrections as rewarding and exciting as finally catching the ball in her mouth when it dropped within chomping distance.
If I’d not caught the lesson that Cider was demonstrating, life gave me a second chance to learn it. This time from my nephew, Shaun, who was a tiny baby back then. I watched Shaun reach for a rattle. Whoops, his reach was too far to the left. He looked startled that he missed it, and then laughed and tried again. This time his reach was too far to the right. Well, he thought that was even funnier!
Shaun, like Cider, was an unassuming guru who demonstrated the value of admitting one’s error so he could refine his action until he struck pay dirt. It wasn’t but a couple of minutes later that he was able to grasp the rattle at will, and soon thereafter, anything else that was within his reach.
I never forgot the life-lesson from my four- and two-legged teachers. Over the years, it became clear to me that we have a built-in correction system that automatically helps us refine our course of action — as long as we’re willing to admit the error of our prior attempts.
I also learned from my two ordinary gurus, Cider and Shaun, that if I am to enjoy life to its fullest, I must be willing to admit my errors with a delightful attitude, knowing that I will certainly have a chance to try again.
Don’t miss my appearance on the Nationally Syndicated Donna Seebo Radio Show: LISTEN HERE
Be sure to check out my latest feature in the Huffington Post: