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Fred_and_Barney miWisdom today… One must always take care to learn from other people’s experiences, mistakes, actions and decisions. If one is to ignore this important principle, one will find themselves on the treadmill of life – moving consistently and rapidly, yet making no progress at all.

It has taken humanity hundreds of thousands of years to reach our current level of knowledge and understanding. This progress didn’t happen by chance, nor did it happen through planned intervention. We became what we are today through nothing more than the act of making and learning from our mistakes.

It is said that Fred Flintstone developed the wheel not by accident but rather through a process of mistakes that lead to a better and more effective way of thinking about his situation. Dragging big rocks along the ground all day or lifting them above his head, surely cost Fred a great amount of energy and strain. He even had the habit of dropping a rock or two every now and then on his hairy foot causing a great amount of anguish, injury and pain. Yet if Fred wasn’t the sensible character we all know he is, he wouldn’t have taken the time to learn from these mistakes; from these inefficiencies in his strategy. Therefore we may well still be hauling rocks and bricks above our heads in today’s day and age. However, thanks to Fred, that is now history.

So here was Fred Flintstone searching for a better way to do something that was so critical to his survival. And so he observed others in his Clan (including his Bestest of friends Barney Rubble) dropping these huge boulders over and over again on his foot (Ouch the pain! – Fred thought to himself). Well, after several weeks of this intense observation, he finally came up with a concept that he called the Wheel. Can you just imagine how different our life would be today if this young Fred Flintstone hadn’t taken the time to learn from his observations of others? Just imagine.

If we look at any great accomplishment in life over the history of human evolution and change, we will come to the same never ending conclusion. We as a human race are mistakaholics – meaning that we produce an endless amount of mistakes each and every day of our existence, which in effect creates the perfect learning environment. It is after all those who watch and carefully observe other’s experiences, decisions and actions and then learn from their observations that have an advantage as they progress through life.

  • Was the car built over night?
  • Were the advances of medicine discovered after one try?
  • Was the Internet created in the blink of an eye?

The answer to all the above is a resounding NO.

Everything we have before us today, is simply a creation out of a succession of mistakes that have been collated and collected over time by people who initially had little to no idea what they were doing. However, through trial and error, through the process of asking the right kinds of questions and through their observations of others, they learnt, gaining a greater sense of wisdom and understanding which lead to a higher level of knowledge and awareness about improvements that could be made to enhance their life experience.

Learning from another’s experience could be the most important factor towards achieving any kind of success in life. You will not only save time and energy by utilizing this method, but also gain insights and understandings that you may never have come across through your own undertakings.

Let’s quickly take a look at a metaphor to explain the importance of the Fred Flintstone principle:

Imagine you have been suddenly flung back through time and you now find yourself on the periphery of a jungle in a land that has no familiarity. There you are asked to save a village from a deadly virus by journeying to retrieve a medicine deep within the jungle. Obviously you have very little understanding of the land, the people and the journey that awaits you. Hence, you can do one of two things: attempt to GOOF your way towards retrieving the medicine, or you could learn from the experience of other village people who have made the journey before you.

Indeed you would first begin by asking for directions. You could even ask them about the mistakes that they made and what you should look out for at every stage of your journey. Maybe even ask for shortcuts you could take, supplies you should carry, or even things that you should be wary… of. The more information you have the better prepared you will be, and the more likely you are to succeed along your journey to retrieve the medicine.

It is said that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. And it’s within this single step that lessons are learnt, directions are given, and mistakes are already made a thousand times over. It is within this single step, that one has an opportunity to learn from all who came before them; to learn from the mistakes that others made along their way. A wonderful opportunity, that will allow for a far more effortless journey towards one’s destination.

If you are about to begin your journey, you might find it helpful to first take a single step and ask yourself the following set of questions:

  • What is it that I know with certainty about this journey I am about to take?
  • What is it that I think I know that may in fact be a handful of assumptions that I am just holding onto?
  • What is it that I need to find more information about; which will help me to progress along my journey?
  • Where will I need to gather further research, and whom must I speak with who can provide me with the guidance I seek?
  • What mistakes have others made along this journey that I must learn from?
  • Are there any shortcuts I could take that could save me time, energy, money and effort?
  • What important things should I be most careful and wary about as I progress along my journey?
  • What if what I thought I knew wasn’t in fact the truth? How can I gather further evidence and proof that could put my mind at ease?
  • Given everything that I have learnt from others, what mistakes could I still potentially make along my journey? How can I best prepare for them?

If you have a similar learning experience or would like to add to the list of questions, you may do so by commenting below.

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