Did you do things correctly today? Or did you stumble… and innovate?
One of the greatest classic rock songs has something interesting in common with one of the all-time classic breakfast cereals. Both were, in part, the result of mistakes.
Sting was in the studio to sing vocals on The Police song “Roxanne” when he bumped into the piano, which made an off-key sound. Sting laughed at his clumsiness, and then began to sing the song.
The microphone picked up the whole thing, and the version of “Roxanne” you hear to this day includes a sour piano note made by Sting’s ass hitting the piano! Even his laughter made the final cut. It wasn’t supposed to be that way, but when the band listened back to the track they decided the stray note and laughter added something special to the song, something magical, and it became part of rock history. In the liner notes of the album, Sting is even credited with playing “butt piano” on the track.
We don’t move things ahead by doing the same things over and over.
We don’t advance the game without taking risks.
Great things happen when you make the right mistakes.
Dr. John Kellogg ran a hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan. He was an expert at making easy to digest foods for his patients. One night he left a batch of dough out too long, and when he came back the next morning it had gone bad. Or had it? Dr. Kellogg put the dough through rollers and baked it anyway, just to see what would happen. The result? Corn Flakes. Dr. John Kellogg discovered that by tempering the dough - letting it sit and cool for unusually long times - allowed the moisture content in each grain to stabilize, resulting in perfectly delicate flakes.
Corn Flakes were invented the same way The Police created “Roxanne”. They took a mistake, and turned it into something incredible.
Instead of always being focused on perfection, give yourself the freedom to screw up. Take some chances and risks.
Rock stars call it “jamming”. They play around, create new chord progressions, invent new sounds, sing non-sensical words, and make something out of nothing.
Today, The Police are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Kellogg’s has a market cap of $21.2 billion.
Whether it is breakfast cereal or hit songs, great things happen when you make more mistakes!