My five-year-old granddaughter recently interned as my personal secretary. Cailyn Joy drives a hard bargain; she charged me a dollar a letter. The US Government could save a lot of money by sending Cailyn to negotiate with foreign countries rather than John Kerry.

She invited me into her office, offered a chair across from her little desk with her own phone, paper and envelopes ready for me to dictate letters. I told her what to write and she jotted down which letters of the alphabet she knew, and, for the rest, she made scribbly lines like my doctor; I’m positive I could get a prescription filled with them.

When she got frustrated, she would growl a little bit then crumple the paper and toss it into pile. She called it her crumple pile.

She was not just cute; she was teaching Papa Rick a few lessons.

      1. Never negotiate with a five-year-old who is smarter than you.
      2. If you make a mistake, just throw it in the crumple pile.

I’ve decided to make my own crumple pile; I named a notebook in Evernote, The Crumple Pile.

I listed major mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned. Historically, I crumpled my failures and tossed them in the wastebasket instead of recycling them. Yet, as I write down my mistakes and failures in The Crumple Pile, I also create a balance sheet that shows the positive outcomes from each of them.

As it turns out, my mistakes and failures have led to even greater accomplishments and skill development.

Apparently, the benefits produced by recycling my crumple pile are better than the original product.

What do you have in your crumple pile?


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