Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Knowledgemonger on the Importance of Mistakes

"Always Make New Mistakes" by Emily Dyson

This quote speaks about mistakes from two different, yet very important, areas. Firstly, it implies the importance of making mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, those of us that make more mistakes are living more outwardly, trying more things to find what it is that makes each of us the unique person that we are. Mistakes are not inherently an issue. Take for instance a baby taking it's first steps. They stand up and put one foot in front of the other precariously balancing themselves as they totter on the brink of falling over, which they eventually do. This mistake only becomes costly if the child wrongly assumes that every time that it tries to walk that it will fall and instead decides to continue to crawl. But, humans don't do that, we learn from that first failure and try to correct our balance to keep from repeating the error that made us fall in the first place.

This brings us to the second important point addressed by this quote: to not repeat old mistakes. Making the same mistake repeatedly is something that can have catastrophic effects. The rationale individual after making a mistake, needs to identify the mistake, correct the mistake (when possible) & remember the mistake as to not repeat it. When you learn from your mistakes you become a stronger person, able to not walk down the same wrong path in that situation. This can be tricky. Just because the path is different from the originally erred path does not necessarily make it the correct path as there may be more than two options with the any number of correct responses and incorrect responses.

Even more importantly is to realize that the wrong path for one situation may be the right path for a nearly identical situation if the players are different. Confused yet? Well, the good news is all you have to do is try a path and see where it leads and make note of the outcome. Just like a baby taking their first step decisions are things that come easier with experience and time. The goal of life is not to stop making mistakes, but to make fewer in time that are costly.

I leave you with this poem that I always found enlightening:

If I Had My Life to Live Over

I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I'd
have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who live sensibly
and sanely hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments and if I had it to do over
again, I'd have more of them. In fact,
I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments.

One after another, instead of living so many
years ahead of each day.

I've been one of those people who never go anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.

If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter next time.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
By Nadine Stair (age 85)

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