Monday, October 1, 2012

Portals of Discovery

Mistakes are the portals of discovery -- James Joyce

Not exactly. Mistakes can be the portal of discovery, but all too often they are not. Unless we acknowledge them, learn from them, and adjust our actions on them, they are just mistakes. 89.2 percent of all mistakes are just mistakes. Okay, I have no idea what the percentage should be, but I'd guess the percentage is low. Most mistakes are just mistakes. Worse, most mistakes are stupidity in action.

When we do something and know we shouldn't we are being stupid. When we do something stupid habitually, we have turned our stupidity into a habit. Success and happiness may require positive action on our part, but we can make a lot of progress by acknowledging the stupid, wasteful, useless things we do over and over, then stop doing them. There are at least two positive impacts from this:
  • We reduce the damage that the stupid behavior creates.
  • We have time available to do something else -- hopefully something productive.
If you can't start a savings program, at least stop consistent spending.

If you can't start an exercise regimen, stop eating the worst of the food you are eating.

Mistakes are like history -- we are doomed to repeat what we haven't learned. If we want to turn mistakes into portals of discovery, we need to be in the process of discovery.

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