SPILT MILK…. Mistakes are Opportunities to Learn Something New!!



We have all heard about the spilt milk story. We also know that there is no use crying over spilt milk. But this story is different. Let us hope all parents would respond in this manner.

There is a story about a famous research scientist who had made several very important medical breakthroughs. He was interviewed by a newspaper reporter who asked him why he thought he was able to be so much more creative than the average person. What set him so far apart from others?

He responded that, in his opinion, it all came from his experience with his mother that occurred when he was about two years old. He tried to take out a bottle of milk from the refrigerator when he lost his grip on the slippery bottle and it fell, spilling its contents all over the kitchen floor – a veritable sea of milk!

When his mother came into the kitchen, instead of yelling at him, giving him a lecture or punishing him, she said, “Robert, what a great and wonderful mess you have made! I have rarely seen such a huge puddle of milk. Well, the damage has already been done. Would you like to get down and play in the milk for a few minutes before we clean it up?”

Indeed, he did. After a few minutes, his mother said, “You know, Robert, whenever you make a mess like this, eventually you have to clean it up and restore everything to its proper order. So, how would you like to do that? We could use a sponge, a towel or a mop. Which do you prefer?”

He chose the sponge and together they cleaned up the spilt milk.

His mother then said, “You know, what we have here is a failed experiment in how to effectively carry a big milk bottle with two tiny hands. Let’s go out in the backyard and fill the bottle with water and see if you can discover a way to carry it without dropping it.”

The little boy learnt that if he grasped the bottle at the top near the mouth with both hands, he could carry it without dropping it. What a wonderful lesson!

This renowned scientist then remarked that it was at that moment that he knew he need not be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, he learnt that mistakes were just opportunities for learning something new, which is, after all, what scientific experiments are all about. Even if the experiment “doesn’t work”, we usually learn something valuable from it.


Wouldn’t it be great if all parents would respond the way Robert’s mother responded to him?


Never committing any mistakes means never to have tried anything new. Don’t be afraid to commit mistakes, but never repeat the same mistake again. If we do so, that means we have not learnt anything from our mistakes. Try something new, something different, something you have never done before. 

Mistakes are opportunities to learn something new.


Thomas Alva Edison has been reported to have made this famous statement when a thousand prototype of his light bulb failed to work before he created one that worked. “It was not a failure. I learnt a thousand different ways in which a light bulb doesn’t work.”


“It is a risk to love.

What if it doesn’t work out?

Ah, but what if it does?

— Peter McWilliams


Great love and great achievements involve great risk.


Take risks: If you win, you will be happy; if you lose you will be wise.


Intelligent people are those who learn from their mistakes, but wise people are those who learn from others’ mistakes.

Therefore, we must learn all we can from the mistakes of others. We won’t have enough time to make them all ourselves.

“Never mistake knowledge for wisdom.  One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life.”

– Sandra Carey

Every memorable act in the history of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it because it gives any challenge or any occupation, no matter how frightening or difficult, a new meaning. Without enthusiasm we are doomed to a life of mediocrity, but with it we can accomplish miracles.

“Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait, the grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.”

– Henry Ford

Age wrinkles the skin, but giving up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.

Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?

Recommended Posts

Observations of Lord Buddha About Life…

Wonder why all the statues that we see of Lord Buddha show him as calm, cool and smiling? Well, because Gautama the Buddha had found the secrets of life by discovering the harsh realities of life. He had his ego completely annihilated and found the beauty of present moment. To be calm and cool like […]


The Old Carpenter…

Our lives today are the result of the attitudes and choices we made in the past and our karma-s/actions to implement them. Our lives in the future will be the result of the choices we make today and our present karma-s. This is the story of an elderly carpenter who has worked for a contractor […]


1 Comment

  1. Sanjay

    Yes if everyone can think like Robert’s mother…our world would have got very different look . ..

Leave A Comment