Dare to be Wrong

People romanticize perfection that they forget the art of being wrong and learned.

Our education taught us to avoid mistakes at all costs. Mistakes are a big no – if you want to excel. However, against this eclectic and counterintuitive approach, we have missed the whole point of learning.

Faults are a big portion of our lives. Whether they are directly or indirectly caused, they should be a reason to rejoice. For every lapse, there comes a lesson… even creativity and luck.

Think about it, oversights made Washington refined his military tactics in order to turn the tides of the American Revolution. Lincoln’s mishaps eventually led him to employ Ulysses Grant who brought defeat against the Confederacy.

The Texas Revolution showed General Sam Houston and the Republic of Tejas’ blunders. They acted too late and never sent reinforcement to some of the war’s most important early battles. That emboldened General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana and made him complacent. At the time, being ahead of his main army, de Santa Ana’s battalion got lenient and forgot to fortify their position. Houston’s army advanced when they least expected, butchering most of the Mexican regiment. That one decisive action led to the capture of de Santa Ana and the eventual surrender of Mexico.

Let us be honest, being wrong can bring shame. But, derision is temporary if we eye improvement in the long run. Plus, we do not need to be caught up in the pangs of the past. Most of our miscalculations will pass. We must live and learn in the present.

Not all of us will be endowed to embrace faults. And not all will make that conscious effort to grasp it. It takes guts and harden determination to accept fault. Comfort at being wrong brings a certain mentality and a kind of character. It is a product of practice and willingness to espouse reflection.

In order to reach that level of comfort – engaging in fault – there are mindsets that create the whole experience.

Allowing Creativity to reign

One Reader’s Digest article mentioned of a maritime brainstorming session that happened during the first World War. At the time, the British Royal Navy was devising ways to clear shipping lanes of Axis Naval Mines. Several suggestions were laid out. But some of them were costly and impractical. It was until an officer trying to lighten the mood blurted about jumping on the mines. The idea was ludicrous. But shortly after he made that suggestion, another bloke proposed spraying the mines away to be approached and diffused by paddle minesweepers.

Taking Responsibility

Among the greatest entrepreneurial comebacks in history was Steve Jobs’. His Stanford Commencement speech recollected the times when he was publicly ousted from Apple to be back and later revolutionize the company decades after.

The speech showcased his reflections at the time and how he needed such medicine to improve. He admitted his shortcomings as founder.

It shows how one can rise from the ashes by taking responsibility – admit their fault – to reach the epitome of success.

Question your Beliefs – Reflections

Early in his political activism, Nelson Mandela embraced violence as a means to fight the apartheid government. His decade of incarceration led him to reflect on his past actions and how it molded him to be the unifier of the nation. In his memoirs, he mentioned – that his time behind bars led him to ruminate on the Gandhi type of approach and the Martin Luther King’s tolerance to unify all of South Africa.

In the end, his compassion led his countrymen to abolish the apartheid and summon a government which treated all South Africans – regardless of color – equal.

No matter where we are in life, it is never too late to admit and embrace fault. Aside from honing our skills, it is among our best ways to develop.

Pursuit of Value

Money is a mere tool.

Many of us are drawn to money. Understandably, without it, we cannot get our basic needs. Almost everything today is accessible with cash.

Some of us say ‘money is the root of all evil’. We blame cash for the downfalls of many great people, organizations and even nations. How can a tool be so vilified?

On the plus side, since the invention of coins, trade has been easier. Gone are the days of finding something in exchange for our easily rotten goods. Imagine our lives – hastily exchanging useless products for our almost spoilt oranges.

Think about it, our monetary system was created to make exchanges easier. Industries and commerce progressed with the introduction of currency. It was simpler to assign a numeric value to goods and services than to charge an equivalent number of products. Employment in the modern world would have been harder if we all get paid bread every day.

This leads us to the very concept behind money – value. Value is what we assign something. It is the relative worth assigned to an object. The whole concept is entwined with us placing something tangible into an intangible.

Most of our exchanges of goods are about placing value in acquiring. We place dollar signs in product acquisition. Say, we priced some furniture for 130 dollars. That is the value of owning it. The same concept for services, we pay tradesmen for their skills to produce that furniture for 20 dollars per hour.

In the same light, value is not restricted to the price assigned to a product. Relevant concepts like product reviews, brand goodwill and product experience add to the perceived value.

Therefore, some of us have been chasing the wrong thing. We have been after money. We should be pursuing value.

The pursuit of value is trivial and tricky at the very least. Not everyone will be endowed with creativity to understand the notions behind it.

In the concept of employment, as employees, we add value to our workplace. They assign a dollar sign: salary to our services, give us leaves and provide us with an environment to render and produce a service or a product. We give it our best or do the bare minimum. The bottom line is – we give them something of value in exchange for money. Then, we improve to make ourselves more valuable. Getting higher education and credentials serve this purpose. Overall, money is an arbitrary instrument in exchange. But think about the output of employment as value.

In business, this should be straightforward. The more value we give to the world – money comes next.

Money is not the root of all evil. It is a tool in exchange to get more products. The obsession with acquiring that tool is caused by greed. Therefore, greed is the root of all evil. The focus on value negates all effects of greed. Value enriches our lives.

Merits of a product or services should keep us on our toes – not the pursuit of money. Rather than concentrate on acquiring that tool, we should strive to improve – provide something that enriches our lives.

Today, we are lucky to be alive.

We look back and find ourselves lucky.

Picture the world our of our ancestors. Let us start with Sapiens during the Dinosaur era. Can we imagine what their lives look like?

Our hunter-gatherers were at the mercy of their environment. Aimlessly roam around, they will be eaten. Try to eat something and see what happens. Many died before knowing the consequences of their actions.

They learned, discovered tools, and shaped their surroundings. Instead of wandering around, they started to commune and form villages. Language and systems were invented. Now, they had structures to stack their grains and knowledge.

Eventually, they formulated laws. However, the rule of the land was still at the mercy of the strongest. They can be killed by the whims of the strong or the group. Soldiers needlessly die at the whims of their rulers and leaders.

Governments were formed and the majority rules. Police now enforced the laws. Go against them, they will be prosecuted.

Bartering was a way of exchanging goods. However, it was too cumbersome for our distant kin to exchange chickens for everything. They made money as an arbitrary tool to swap products.

It is crazy that they had arsenic and cyanide in their early cough syrups. Headaches were cured with lobotomy. Before Sir Fleming discovered penicillin, an infection was a life-or-death situation. Today, an infection can be cured in as little as 3 days.

Remember, how our great grandparents had 13 children? This was because they needed all the hands to help on the farm. Or they needed to have more because diseases and death were too prevalent among infants.

Reflect on these things, we are so lucky to be alive today. Yesterday’s danger is now menial compared to modern advancements.

We just do not realize this. Indeed, we are fortunate. Most of the people in this world have access to food, healthcare, education and freedom – which were non-existent concepts of the Mesozoic past. Think about how long it took us to get to this point. It took us millennia to get to this point!

It is so easy to look at what we do not have. All of us are guilty of wallowing on what we lack. We are so geared on wanting. For all our wants, we tend to justify why we need them.

The next time we are frustrated and sad by not having, how about we count our blessings?

Breaking Through

Live life to the fullest.

We know when we made it in my life. We get the sense of accomplishment looking back.

Having a roof to live in, food to eat three times a day and buying some luxuries; these are a few things showing we have made it. These can exactly be cruise mode until our end days.

There is nothing wrong with these. Our lives will still have their ups and downs. Life will give us our challenges to make it compelling.

But to make it more worthwhile, the best lives are ridden with flair. It gives a sense of uncanny control. Breaking through the mundane is the label we will like to live.

How do we achieve this?

Well, there is no easy answer. This is driven by our desire to improve. We set our limits. The boundaries of our persona are how we bent them. For whatever reason, we can set them to comfort or make it worth our while. It is totally up to us.

Further, the first mind-boggling task is to find that sweet spot of improvement. There is an element of luck in all of these. Also, suffering has a lot to do with it. As they say – “no pain, no gain”. This is the bit where we try to catch the equilibrium between these elements.

The sweet spot of improvement is finding our cadence to develop. There are aspects of physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual.

Physical. We cannot achieve a breakthrough with an unhealthy body. Abraham Maslow placed this at the bottom of human needs – a nourished body will be basic to get us through the next levels.

Emotional. Our resilience gives us resolve to personally get through struggles. This includes our emotional ability to react to issues and conflicts. There is a bit of overlap with social. As emotionally balanced individuals, we need to choose where to place our feelings – to more constructive affairs.

Social. Given its overlap with emotional, social fringes on our ability to be proactive and flex our influence muscles. This is when we gather people to our cause.

Intellectual. This means how we nourish our brains with healthy information and logical arguments. The whole point is to be reflective. We need to keep reflection and those self dialogues.

Spiritual. We dwell on the unknown. This is where we infuse our abstracts and meaning into our lives. Nobody has the best way to find this. We create our own.

When we master the elements of self-improvement, this is where luck has to play its part. We work with karma – chasing our ends. Most cannot emphasize given the triumph has so many unknowns. Therefore, we take our chances!

Being humans, we are so engrossed with the tributes of success and how we persevered with struggles. So, breaking through is our self-infliction to chase a better end. Even Buddha has to give up all he had in pursuit of Nirvana. Suffering is inevitable. Make it our while.

Life’s Floating Hypothesis

Most of us will say – “take everything with a grain of salt”. This is the best advice we can give to effectively deal with life.

Change is the only thing constant. It pins everything in uncertainty. Every knowledge we derived from our human consciousness will have an end and limit.

It will be in our best interest to approach life with transience – a type of floating paradigm – where nothing goes unquestioned.

It may sound like a huge undertaking. How do we best approach this?

Let us simply treat everything with a floating hypothesis.

Like our ancestors, we bet, they ate everything to know which animals and plants are edible. They kept mental notes of the animal’s appearance, smell, and taste. Another great example is how they discovered fire. They have ideas that will produce it. But until they iterated and mastered the materials and processes of producing glint, their knowledge will be based on assumptions.

As creatures of volition, our best asset lies in proving and disproving facts. We best approach questions and issues by understanding their elements.

So, instead of nailing that coffin and arriving at our conclusion, we should constantly question our assumptions.

This is easier said than done. Our minds comfortably ease taking mental shortcuts. As things are more prevalent than ever – with the rise of anti-vaxxers, the flat earthers, and Qanons – our ability to discern takes the first fact we come across.

We manage this by reflection. By reflecting, we subject our premise to the most critical points. Our success will be defined by how we accept the flaws in our inferences and acknowledging the fundamental points of reason.

Along with our hypotheses, we should be aware of our biases and emotions. We suspend our judgment until we line our premise with logically sound arguments.

Taking all of these into consideration, we should all take the high road to logic and hypotheses. By consciously questioning our knowledge, we take the first step to enlightenment. Keep in mind even after an idea was proven, something comes along to disprove their being.

When is all said and done, we hold ideas until something better and more logical comes along.

All Knowledge is Arbitrary

Humans created knowledge to advance their agenda.

We built our civilization through the blood, sweat, and lives of our ancestors. These are the cavemen who evolved and roamed the landmasses to forage and hunt for food.

Without nature tempering our evolutionary luck, we could have been rudimentary apes looking for our next feed.

Our evolutionary tree forged a path for us – Homo sapiens. Until this moment, our theoretical heritage can be disputed as the next hypothesis comes mooted.

This derives the most irrefutable truth. Without humans, knowledge will just be a figment of our imagination – even our existence.

This might be hard for our religious friends to come to terms with. God created everything and can easily strike our luck as we sin. However, think about this, God (and its concept) is the ultimate arbitration. We gain or lose nothing by believing in Him. Our theological constructs and their propagation impact our norms. The canons create complex human multifactorial societies.

This predicament is hardly the truth. Further, this calls for reflection.

Finally, by this realization, we can break free from the shackles of determinism – which partly distances us from our accidental truth. We can arrive at our reality through our volition.

We can live our lives how we deem them to be – away from the textbook of how we conform. This elicits a little creativity away from our forefathers’ generalizations.

But, as our free will has its inherent gaps and limitations, we are subject to existential vagaries. We cannot get away from them being part of a society where everyone can draw their truths.

Pick a paradigm that brings the best of us. Our borrowed time gives the illusion of urgency. And some societies abhor idle. Take it easy. We got our whole lifetime to learn.

Static Knowledge

The recent world events struck fear and ignorance among us. We get our news but we know little. We understand things but our facts are superficial.

The advent of Trump’s megalomaniac fervor and Covid Pandemic have exposed all of us to what we call Static Knowledge.

What is Static Knowledge?

It is knowledge that is static. Funny, this is correct! However, we have to expand this idea.

The concept leans on the premise – “taking it at face value”. So, what we see is what we get. Purely, from a literal sense, we take everything as we read them.

This is a great start to build wisdom. But, we hardly stop here. Our scientific community has a way to subject hypotheses to which we should treat anything we read like data needed to be proved.

We can go the distance and test all we have read. Nevertheless, not all of us will have access to test them. Some situations cannot be tested – in the case of human emotions.

A great event to exemplify this was the Covid Pandemic. Our medical and scientific leaders were cramming to understand the emergence of a new strain of flu. Initially, it was thought of as such. As other symptoms and infections arose, our clinicians started to examine the virility of the disease. Evident that it will become a pandemic, some countries which had prior experience activated their containment plans.

Any knowledge will become static as soon as we stop subjecting it to questions and doubts. The true nature of knowledge and even wisdom is pounding them against empirical and logical rigor.

On the issue of intangibles such as human emotions, we need to quantify and objectify their subjectivity. An example in particular – Trump’s atrocities where most of his supporters clung to his marketed persona – the appeals of a leader of anti-establishment. The idea was sown into people who took it at face value. This was without duly questioning his negligence and amorality of most of his actions.

We should subject our assumptions to stringent inquiry. The only way we can decide and take a side is by duly examining all angles. Therefore, after we have taken an initial position, we are urged to thoroughly scrutinize its merit.

The presence of static knowledge confirms the need to be dynamic. Being static should be temporary or else, in prolonged periods – it becomes stagnation.

We suggest a few ways to reach out, expand and expound that knowledge.

  1. Take everything with a grain of salt. Like any knowledge derived from data, statistics can be scored by the angle at which they are examined. Specifically, the case of Gravitational Theories, where some concepts were later disproved by the Theory of Relativity. In turn, some arguments of Relativity were diminished by Quantum Theory.
  2. Place and expose ourselves in every possible aspect. As one says, put ourselves in the other’s shoes. By fully immersing ourselves in another paradigm, we truly grasp their essence. Then, we can decide whether they are worth delving into.
  3. Be quick to accept responsibility. We should face the hard ugly truth. That is one of the ways we can spring into the right direction by accepting responsibility. Without it, we will be pinned to our unexamined beliefs.
  4. Note our bias. It is okay. We have a predilection to a thought. This is what created civilizations. Without the enamor of Roman conquest, we would not see the Roman Empire and their societal contributions. Hence, we have to be aware of them, steer them to our desired end, and minimize their impacts.

It is worth noting that our aspiration to the truth will determine whether we will outgrow what we have. Besides, we are as good as the effort we put into things. Just like change, it is and will be in our best interest to surpass anything we have. It makes our lives worthwhile.

Mastering Chaos

Chaos is central to any advancement.

Our forefathers had to endure imperialism and colonization to establish a republic. If was not for the American Revolution, heroes like George Washington would not have risen to the occasion. Benjamin Franklin settled with his writings, experiments and discoveries.

Go back a bit further; our Mayan, Egyptian and Roman ancestors did not dare build granaries or some sort of grain storage – if they did not understand the havoc of famine. They built roads to reinforce those facilities.

Pre-date to the origin of our universe, Big Bang was necessary to build the stars and planets. Without fission, fusion and other cosmic reactions, the earth was just a figment of any being’s imagination.

Where are we going with all of these?

Think about it. The period of mess and disaster prequel discovery. It is a prerequisite to any development. For as long as we – humans recognize this, we ought to exploit its utmost.

Imagine, without World War 2, America will take another decade to realize its global capability. The United States settled for isolation in their golden era. Franklin Roosevelt convinced the masses to join the fight for democracy. This brought the United States’ industrial might to the world.

The inefficiencies of Chinese Communism facilitated Deng Xiaoping’s reforms. China in its form is a product of growth harnessed by the previous ideological mishaps. In their current state, they are a formidable manufacturing powerhouse.

We need to embrace chaos. Most of us avoid it for a reason. However, chaos evokes the best in us.

The likes of Kobe Bryant comes to mind. He wanted to be the best. To achieve, he had to endure chaos accompanying every missed shot. Every ache, distress and frustration defined how the next game will be. The more he embraced disaster in each game and practice, with every moment allocated to his development, the more he became resilient. His battle-hardened persona with skills he developed early on, made him among the greatest.

Mastering chaos takes skill. It is not for everyone.

Some of us will settle with issue resolution. After identifying the issue, we inexplicably place the solution. That is it. Make life simple as the adage goes.

For the rest of us, we do not want to settle. We want to know more. Resolution is a small integral part of the issue. We want to understand what triggered the event. We ask beyond what is intended.

Why go through the hassle?

Every disaster, issue and difficulty hones our problem-solving skills. Our approach of asking the right questions mature. At the same time, our calm and demeanor smoothen at each tribulation.

Mastery of chaos comes with practice. We want to imbue this ability. No matter what setback lies ahead, whether big or small, this prowess certainly comes handy.

Why we do what we do

We survive in order to live.

We came to this world without a perpetual reason. We are a product of two beings who decided to procreate. Whether, it was planned or not, our reason depends on the limit of that situational existence.

If so, then, our being is dependent of our choosing. We can define who we are and what we want. Simply by our affirmation, we uniquely identify our “state of living” – our choice on how to live life.

Equivocally, we go through the trouble on how to live life. Our family teaches us the norms.  Some of our kin are quick to pass judgement on how we should live our lives. Religions command to follow their tenets. Sects and cults arise because denominations cannot suffice the vast individualistic understanding. Some our experts and teachers impose lessons. And our police and political leaders have mandates to impose laws. It seems no freedom at all. However, in the end, we choose our bearing. There is no right and wrong on this world. It is all about what is humanly good and evil.

Volition is the most powerful tool endowed to us. Whatever situation limits it, the fact, we decide on our discourse… It is the best thing that happened since our ancestors became conscious.

The fact our decisions do not go away even at incarceration. The ability to choose and reflect never fleet. Even at our deathbeds, we can premeditate where to be laid.

Though some of us have not consciously decided on anything, our being are implied to choose – with or without awareness.

So, the purpose of this exercise is to the fundamentally argue our bearings to why. We choose our aspiration. We choose our own purpose. Even if it is to inflict pain, our lives are bound by that. We choose our own end.

By such, we are bound to reflect. Given such recourse, how do we make and fully grasp our own purpose?

We live so as to decide.

 

 

Mistakes..Missed Takes..

Success is our ability to collect and sift through millions of mistakes to find the best outcome.

Our lives have been a culmination of decisions, actions and outcomes. Events we go through defines our experience. The more we encounter in life – sure development comes our way. This may or may not be the case, we need to reflect on this.

Now, our capability to be successful comes in different forms. It may not fit a single mould. There is a million recipes to success. It falls on us to find what works.

Popular to culture, most of us sing hymns of praises to the people and technology which made it. This is without due regard to the pains and pangs of getting there.

Out of the millions of successes examined, one concept is commonly dropped – if not briefly mentioned in most interviews and documentaries. We will have to examine this idea both in broad strokes and granularity.

The idea is “Mistakes“.

By definition, mistake is an error or fault. Whether it intentional or unintentional, we scrutinize it in very bad and biased way. Our culture trained us to conclude something bad came out of the situation.

The merit of error lies within the presumptions and assumptions of the individual or group concluding it. Mistakes happen when something perceived was missed.

Therefore, its essence underpins our criticality. In layman’s, how we react tells others if the product had blunders and to what degree.

Some of us will argue, fallacies are objective enough to merit such correction if not derision. Hmm.. Look at it this way, the heliocentric model was one of our ancestor’s biggest misconceptions. This is aside from mixing lead and mercury in their cough syrups.

This is not how we should label or treat these things. As part of our evolution and knowledge, there are information we do not know at the time and are probably withheld.

How about we rename those inaccuracies to what they really are – “gap in knowledge”?

This notion might be too much for us to handle. Besides, our brains are well-equipped to remember a word with its simple concept rather than a concept in its entirety. For our sake and to make this simple, we should change our attitude towards mistakes. Failures are a big part of who we are and how we came to be. Without them, our lives will be simple chunks of experiences without lessons and realizations.

To add, our refinement tackles the quantity and quality of fails.

Quantity is finding the best avenues to develop from flaws. It will be in our interest to seek the best partner, establishment and organization who is willing to accept us for the numerous mistakes we will be making.

Quality defines the depth of introspection as an individual or group. Gaps in knowledge is a temporary state to which we drill on the underlying cause. It is all up to us to find that bitter-sweet state of mind. Whether we choose to be ignorant or drill on emotions and annals of situation, it is all up to us. Like what we discussed earlier, it is our conclusion.

Mistakes or gaps in knowledge will be part of us – being human. There is no way we can run away from them. Our society is fond of implying beyond its supposed meaning – being a gap. Nevertheless, we take this opportunity to reflect – if we do not make them – do we want to wallow on regrets and missed takes?