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Archive for the ‘Universal Laws’ Category

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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miWisdom today… The vast majority of people have a natural tendency to overestimate their time, work, energy, decisions and actions. This is known as the Jellybean principle, which is the act of being incapable of estimating correctly how many colored Jellybeans are in the jar.  

Back in high school there was always someone organizing a Jellybean counting competition of some sorts each year. They would get hold of the largest glass jar or container they could find, and would “stuff” it with as many jellybeans as was humanly possible. Then, one-by-one each student would attempt to guess how many Jellybeans were enclosed within the jar. I was intrigued as to how students would go about estimating the number of Jellybeans that were in the jar. 

  • Would they try to calculate it mathematically based on the size of each jellybean and the dimensions of the glass jar?
  • Would they just attempt to “guestimate” how many jellybeans would fit in a jar of that size?
  • Or would they go to extra lengths and attempt to replicate my jellybean competition by purchasing their own jellybeans and jar?

The methods and ways these students used were as varying as their jellybean estimates. Yet, one interesting factor came out of this competition. This one factor in many ways explains how people think and how they go about their daily lives and decisions.

What I found was that 77% of entries that I received overestimated the jellybean count within the jar, and only 23% underestimated it. Given these results; what do they teach us about human nature?

People naturally have a tendency to overestimate their daily decisions and actions. They overestimate:

  • Time – the time it will take them to complete a task or project
  • Energy – the energy they have to undertake a certain activity
  • Work – the amount of work they have to do within a specific time frame
  • Decisions – the impact that their decisions will have on others, themselves and life
  • Actions – the impact that their actions will have on others, themselves and life

Of course, not everyone overestimates the above points. Yet, based on the Jellybean Principle most people do have a habit and tendency towards making these kinds of decision and actions – and this is what leads to much hardship and disappointment in life.

People naturally tend to overestimate because they simply do not have enough information or experience within a specific field or area to make a more accurate estimate of what it would take to accomplish a certain task. They will look at a task and will only see it from the surface, from an outsider’s perspective. And it’s from this perspective that they will base their decisions. 

It’s much like looking at a box that has wrapping all over it. On the surface, everyone knows that it’s a box, and that to open a box it takes certain actions and tools. However, what many of us fail to understand is that what we see on the surface may not be quite what we will experience during the process and act of opening the box. We simply fail to ask ourselves the right questions, or fail to garner the necessary foresight in order to fully understand and comprehend the time, energy, and work it will take to accomplish each task. This lack of foresight is what leads to disappointment and potentially low levels of self-esteem.

Before you begin a new and unfamiliar task, you might like to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What aspects of this task am I confident I can accomplish successfully without any outside assistance?
  • What aspects of this task am I not familiar with?
  • How can I go about becoming familiar and confident with these aspects?
  • What if what I thought I knew wasn’t true at all? How can I verify that my knowledge and experience is adequate in accomplishing this task successfully?
  • Do I understand that what might have worked in the past may not in fact work as planned today? How can I prepare for this possibility?
  • What questions must I ask myself throughout this task to ensure that I stay on track and within the timeframe I have allocated?

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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miWisdom today… One’s predicaments do not last forever. It ain’t over till you raise the white flag… until that moment you must fight for all you have till the outcome you seek rests securely in your hands.

Many people start feeling sorry for themselves and they have a tendency to become frustrated and disheartened with the circumstances that life throws their way. Without a network of supportive family and friends, they see little hope and begin to wilt away into the abyss of unfulfilled dreams that have been drained of life and sustenance. Little do they realise that they are just moving through a phase, a challenge of sorts that is teaching them lessons, developing within them habits and beliefs that will eventually allow them to deserve to live a life filled with only their dreams and desires. However, unless we learn from these challenges and adapt to what life throws at us, we will indeed struggle, yo-yoing back and forth from despair to experiences of minor fragments of achievement.

  • What is it exactly that I am currently struggling with?
  • What is life trying to teach me through these experiences?
  • What must I do, and how must I adapt for me to continue to progress along this journey?
  • What new habits and beliefs must I begin adopting into my life in order to make this work?
  • Where can I get further support and assistance with these challenges?

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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miWisdom today… It is very difficult to predict the consequences your decisions and actions will have on all those around you despite your most humble of intentions. This is known as the Pebble Effect. Some people’s lives will be touched for the better, while others lives may be thrown into turmoil.

  • Despite my best intentions, how could this decision or action effect those closest to me?
  • Knowing what I now know, is it still worth making this decision or taking this action?
  • Can I alter my decisions or actions in a way that will minimise any negative consequences?

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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miWisdom today… What you say to others eventually comes back and smacks you in the face in both positive and negative ways.

  • What are the future consequences of saying such a thing to this person?

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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