There are no irreversible mistakes.
True learning arises from action. Practice deciding quickly.
If you believe that the purpose of life is optimizing and accumulating the best experiences, then yes, there are irreversible mistakes, and you will need to carefully plan out everything.
And yet, life will still disappoint you, much more often than you’d like. There are many contingencies and factors than you cannot plan for.
Here’s another way of looking at it: The real purpose of life is inner growth.
By choosing to align with this purpose, you’ll realize that there are no irreversible mistakes.
There are only continually new opportunities to grow your mindfulness and virtues.
It doesn’t matter where you are and what you’re doing:
Every moment can be deeply valuable.
Don’t be afraid to make any decision.
When you’ve gotten enough experience in any area of life, the decision in that area of life becomes obvious:
- Should I hold my hand on the hot stove? If I don’t want to get burned, “no” is the obvious choice.
- Should I go down Road A or B? I’ve experienced both. Road A has tons of traffic at this hour. If I’m trying to save time, Road B is the obvious choice.
If you’re not sure about a decision, do a bit of internet research or ask trusted friends or colleagues. If the consequences are obvious, you’ll get clear answers from a brief period of research. If it’s not clear, then just make a decision, knowing that you’ll get true learning from your actual experience.
The choice to in any situation is either obvious to you, or, it’s an opportunity to learn via experience.
Practice deciding as quickly as possible.
“But what if it’s a big deal? Shouldn’t I do a lot of research?”
The more serious the consequences, the more due diligence is called for.
But what I’ve seen again and again in my clients’ experiences and friends’ lives is that conscientious people like us typically take far too long in the research period — paralysis by analysis.
We need to be reminded:
- No matter how much research, it can still turn out badly.
- Even if we choose by tossing a coin, it can still turn out very well.
- If you focus on the learning and growth in every experience, then it doesn’t actually matter which choice you go with!
Life is really scary when you focus on the possibility of “bad” choices and irreversible mistakes.
If however you focus on seeing learning and growth everywhere, then Life becomes an adventure.
I encourage you to relax into the journey of Life.
No matter what happens, you will be able to handle the consequences.
Don’t try to force any result. You can learn and grow from any situation, no matter how it turns out.
“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Learn to make quicker decisions. It simply takes practice.
This is especially true in business and marketing.
Should I launch product A or B?
Is it not obvious to you?
Then just make a choice, learn from it, and pivot if necessary.
Should I use marketing strategy C or D?
Learn a bit about both. Is it still not obvious to you? Then just toss a coin and make a choice. You’ll learn and benefit the most from actual experience. You can always pivot if necessary.
Should I spend the day working on project E or F?
What’s more important and urgent?
If it’s not obvious to you, you simply need to just get into action, because that’s where the real learning is.
Shouldn’t I do some more research?
If you’re asking the question, you’ve done enough research for now. If it’s not an obvious choice, you simply need to learn from experience, so get going.
The sooner you take action, the sooner the true learning begins.
You can read George Kao’s best articles about Joyful Productivity here: