Mistakes Are Miracles? It’s True!

When you hear the word miracle, chances are you picture the birth of a child, a remarkable survival story from some awful tragedy, or various other extraordinary events that make front-page headlines from time to time. The idea of mistakes fitting into this category is foreign to most trains of thought.

However, when you stop and consider all the beautiful occurrences brought about almost single-handedly by mistakes, the paradigm shifts in such a way that allows one to understand the value of problems and errors that naturally occur in life.

After reviewing some of the most beneficial mistakes known to humanity in the following article, hopefully, you will start to evaluate the mistakes you have made in your own life and be able to use them as an encouragement to achieve your goals and pursuits.

Penicillin

According to the New World Encyclopedia, penicillin has saved almost 200 million lives. The discovery of this beautiful medical intervention has changed the course of the healthcare field and history in general. It makes sense to believe that discovery of penicillin occurred over years of cutting-edge research in the world’s most extraordinary laboratory, a product brought about by the conglomeration of many brilliant minds. Not true!

In 1928, Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming left several Petri dishes in his laboratory unwashed and exposed overnight. Upon arriving the next day, he noticed that the dishes had already been contaminated and had begun growing patches of bacteria. Curiously, one of the dishes contained a patch of mould that, upon further observation, had prevented bacterial growth entirely. Fleming then isolated an extract from the mould to create the monumental drug known as penicillin.

The Pacemaker

The BC Medical Journal outlines the fascinating story of how the pacemaker, one of the most remarkable devices ever to grace the field of modern medicine, came to be. In the 1940s, Canadian engineer John Hopps attempted to create a method of pasteurizing beer using radiofrequency heating. He was very passionate about this project and considered it a waste of time when he was transferred to the Banting Institute in Toronto to explore the possibility of using his heating method in cardiac surgery.

Several cardiac surgeons had begun using hypothermia in the operating room to slow the heart down enough to perform open-heart surgery. The problem with this method was that the spirit would cease beating below a specific temperature, an issue with patients preferring to survive the surgery.

Hopps suggested the idea that applying the same electrical impulses he had begun to utilize in his pasteurizing process may cause the heart to contract. When this proved true, it was discovered that these same impulses, when applied in the appropriate rhythm, could reproduce the same contraction frequency of a human heartbeat! This was the catalyst to the series of events that led to the invention of the pacemaker we know today.

Super Glue

Straying from the medical field here, it would be a shame not to discuss the miraculous mistake that led to the discovery of superglue!

During World War 2, Dr Harry Coover was involved in a project to create a new type of gun sight made from explicit, plastic-like material. Researchers ended up giving up on the project because the substance was too tricky to work with, sticking to anything it came into contact with.

Years later, while working on aviation products, Coover thought back to this pesky substance that had given him so much grief during his previous research. One thing led to another, and Coover experienced his eureka moment, which led him to commercialize super glue, saving countless vases and ceramic decorations from the table while passing food around the dinner table.