Act 2: How to make mistakes and grow them

Here's where some waffle commences.

 

To begin with, a little bit about fear, pride, ignorance, and courage.

Fear

There is a lot that has been said and written about and studied and exemplified as result of fear. All I can suggest is this golden nugget, which I read in a book by Steve Chandler and understood too late in my own life:

Lose the fear of where you are and you will be

more free than ever to go where you might have been.”

Fear is something you create and generate yourself. It’s usually learned, or instilled.

Fear is often used for entertainment purposes and by those wanting to control others; it engages and deceives, which makes many feel happier by its stimulation of adrenalin and comforted by a perceived protection from it.

Fear will prevent you from making a better, more difficult choice when the alternative seems much easier and more appealing.

Fear, sometimes, is a perfectly natural thing to feel. On those occasions, embrace it and use it to fire the best response in yourself.

Fear creates a limbic system response of freeze, flight or fight. In that order. Choose wisely.

Keep fear in perspective. Act accordingly.

 

 

Pride

Pride comes before a fall. (A well-used misquote of King James’s version of the Bible (Proverbs) although the meaning is clear.)

Humility in the face of your own success is admirable. Avoid the opposite condition. Never gloat or demean others when you do well.

Magnanimity in defeat is a true quality. Let it bring you strength to succeed next time around.

Pride is for others to feel of you — and you of others — never for you to feel of yourself.

Pride quote

Ignorance

Ignorance is bliss. If you don’t believe me, ask a smiling baby.

Ignorance can be a serious hindrance (especially if you’re in a quiz team).

Ignorance of the difference between lust and love can get you into all sorts of trouble. Never be afraid to acknowledge the difference between one and the other.

Sometimes, ignorance can be a blessing, especially when meeting people; pre-conceptions can spoil your instincts’ truest response and engagement with a person which, otherwise, could be spoiled by others’ opinions or their own assertions.

Ignorance is not diminished by awareness, necessarily, unless you think about it. Properly.

 

 

Courage

Courage is something you demonstrated before you knew what it meant.

True courage is doing something right for others, without a second thought, even if it put you at personal risk.

Courage is having the faith and hope to continue, when logic says otherwise.

Courage is part of your spirit, not your mind.

Courage

Making mistakes is part of life. It’s how we grow.

 

Making the same mistakes repeatedly is not conducive to a successful, happy life. Get out of bad habits, as soon as you recognise them as such. Listen to others’ valid observations or do something about your own.

 

I’ve made many mistakes in my life. A Catholic schooling makes it difficult to shed guilt for erroneous deeds (however trivial or notorious they might be) having been instilled with its dogma from an impressionable age.

Nelson Mandela quote

Philosophical ramblings aside, where might I have done better?

 

Professionally speaking, perhaps I should have stayed with the agent who defined my early career, instead of breaking her heart (and, inadvertently, losing the mentor I didn’t know I still needed) by moving on, too soon.

 

Or, perhaps I should have faced my fears, stopped working professionally after 12 years of it, and gone on from college to study for a formal degree-level qualification, instead of continuing with a contract in hand.

 

Perhaps I should have persevered with the more difficult route of poverty through pursuance of my original ambition. Instead, I made an alternative career (in the second innings) with a big company called Merlin that had growing ambitions, which I helped it to achieve with an innate versatility, competence, creative skill, understanding of people, and unique (quiet) flair. Further around the world I went, which brought me to continuing enlightenment and further life education.

Graham McGrath and Lee Hsien Loong

Personally speaking, It’s difficult to say, with the grace of hindsight, what I would have done differently.

I didn’t have a normal childhood, whatever that is. My youthful choices were blissfully ignorant; I was just afraid of getting things wrong. The pride of my professional successes did not materialise until it became an unfortunate distraction. The courage I didn’t know I used to have seemed to diminish in the face of the increasing awareness of the lion.

 

I’ve got myself out of bad habits when I’ve recognised them, I’ve had the courage to overcome hardships that broke me down to my core, on various occasions and for quite different, significant reasons; hardships occasionally caused by my own mistakes, or exacerbated by them.

 

I’ve never been proud of myself. Fortunately, though, I’m blessed to be able to be proud of others I love and admire (and, for some unknown reason, who love me). These nameless others keep me going.

 

And ignorance is an ongoing condition of my resilience and fortitude, I fear.

 

 

Time to move on.

 

You can ask me questions on this second act, too, if you really need to, although I think I’d prefer it if you didn’t.

Copyright Graham McGrath 2021

With Singapore's Prime Minister