On May 13, 1918 the United States Postal Service issued it’s very first Air Mail stamp. For 24 cents you could send a piece of mail by airplane, which was significantly faster than the “pony express.” One batch of those famous stamps became infamous because the image of the biplane printed in blue ink inside the red frame of the stamp was upside-down! (OOPS!)
The stamp pictured a Curtis Jenny JN-4HM, a biplane modified specifically to carry mail.
This particular mistake turned out to be very valuable – at least to some philatelists. Two of them sold for $977, 500 and $825,000 in 2007. In November of 2018, a single “inverted Jenny” sold at auction for $1,573,000.
While we don’t usually feel proud of our mistakes, the fact is that some of them can be valuable because they can teach us something. So if you’re on any sort of journey that requires behavioral change – quitting smoking, exercising more, gossiping less, saving money, losing weight – slip ups happen. It’s a normal part of those sorts of journeys. But if we learn from the slips, they can actually be beneficial steps toward our eventual triumph. Hang in there and try again. It may be helpful to share your mistake with a trusted friend or mentor, too. That can remind us that slip-ups are fairly common and are often a part of the journey. A mistake is nothing to be ashamed of, but it would be a shame to waste the lesson each slip can teach.