May 24

Are You Living in the Stone Age?

May 24, 2012

Personal Growth

Just this morning I was working on an outline for a presentation I'll be doing next month. As I wrote, the ideas seemed to flow through my fingers onto the computer screen. Moments like this are magical, even though I make many mistakes which I later edit.

As I write, ideas interconnect. They relate to each other, amplify each other, and create an overall picture that I never imagined before—much as individual pieces come together to create a puzzle that could not be envisioned by examination of any single piece.

Who we are does not result from putting together perfect pieces into an eventually perfect puzzle. Sometimes the pieces we find or create simply never fit. They're just "wrong," even though often unavoidable. What matters, however, is not whether we make mistakes, or how many we make, but how we respond to them—whether we learn from them.

Many people respond to their mistakes as though they were written in stone. Making changes in stone is very difficult, so such people tend to deny them, worry about them, and defend them.

We don't write in stone much anymore, but I can remember the days when even typing on paper was difficult. The typewriters were not electric, and if you made a mistake, you had to stop, roll the paper up into position, and erase the mistake with an eraser or a razor blade. Eventually, somebody made tiny bottles of white paint—Whiteout—to cover up our mistakes.

I'll never forget the day I saw my first IBM Selectric typewriter, which made it possible to simply backspace to the mistake and eliminate it by lifting the ink off the paper with a special erasure ribbon. It wasn't practical, however, to erase more than a few words. If the mistakes were big enough, the entire page—or the entire paper of multiple pages—had to be retyped. I retyped many pages.

And then I bought an Osborne I, one of the first portable computers ever to have word processing capability. It had a five-inch screen and cost more than my present 18-inch laptop, which has roughly 40,000 times the computational ability. Suddenly, I could erase mistakes with the stroke of a finger and move entire paragraphs about at will, which was impossible with a typewriter.

It can be so with our personal mistakes. They are not written in stone. We don't have to find an entirely new piece of granite and re-engrave the entire block. Nor do we have to retype the whole page or document. We can just backspace or highlight and delete. We do this as we simply admit our mistakes and learn from them, without excessive pain or guilt. In so doing, our mistakes disappear and occur with lesser frequency.

Don't fuss about your mistakes and live in the Stone Age. Just backspace and type again. It's faster and easier.

Real Love book

Replace your mistakes and confusion with peace and happiness.

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