top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrian Reaves

What Did You Learn?

Emergency kit
My Magic Emergency Kit

I'm going to let you in on a little "behind the scenes" secret.

Inside my magic case lies a very nondescript zipper bag. You wouldn't pay much attention to it if you saw it, but it's one of the most important things on stage with me when I perform. It's my "In Case of Emergency" kit. I won't give you all the contents, but some of the things in there include double-sided tape, band-aids, markers, rubber bands, and the like.

The contents of this little bag have grown over the years. You see, each one is there because of some incident in the past where a prop I use has broken, been forgotten, or been lost. As the incident happened and a trick failed, I created a contingency plan and put the things I wished I'd had in the bag. My plan is never to make the same mistake twice.

We all make mistakes. It's a natural part of life. No matter how awesome you may be, you don't always get it right. The most successful people in life are the ones who learn from those mistakes and don't repeat them.


Joe Hernandez said, "I measure my progress by my failures." That means you can see how much you are growing by your mistakes. Are they the same ones you made before? Is there a repeating pattern to your failures? Or are you learning from each?


John Maxwell calls these opportunities chances to "fail forward," not failures. Instead of collapsing in defeat, you learn from the misstep and discover what not to do.


If you make new mistakes on your way to your goals, that's good. It just means you are treading new ground you've never seen before. But if you constantly make the same mistakes repeatedly, you aren't making progress. Instead, you're stuck in some infinite loop that you've got to figure out how to get out of.


Thomas Edison said, “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Never allow yourself the luxury of quitting when you have been given the opportunity to learn from your mistakes.


Ask these questions next time:

1) What mistake did I make that got me to this point, and have I made it before in the past? Believe it or not, many people are clueless as to why they are where they are in life. Find that point where things deviated from the plan and make a note of it. Has it happened before? Is there a pattern here?

2) What was I trying to accomplish and what should I have done differently to get my desired result? A clear plan is essential to action. Don't sit there spinning your wheels or playing the regret game when you need to be making progress.

3) What can I do right now to get back on track to that result? It may be something big or something very small, but there is something you can do to start you on the right road again. Once you figure it out, then start moving!


This is not a time to consider quitting. You've learned valuable information from these moments, so put them to good use. Make it all mean something.


Don't become too frustrated with bad decisions or choices...just be sure you keep moving forward, learn from them, and don't repeat them.


Remember, you weren't made to live and die as "average".

Brian Reaves logo

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page