Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it

Aubrey De Grey

Recognising your mistake

Life is a catalogue of choices and we are making them all the time.  However quite often we have to choose something or someone without really knowing what the impact is going to be.  I would imagine the most common choice we make is about our partner.  How many times did you choose to be with someone thinking this was the one? When after a few months or years, it became your one nightmare? Another common mistake is getting into the wrong job.  How many times did you feel like trying a new job or a new venture only to find it sucked the life out of you?   When we’ve taken a wrong turn, it’s important we don’t cling to a mistake just because we’ve made all that effort. We must admit we are wrong and move on. 

When I was younger I was offered and took up a job helping young people to learn.  I thought I would love it. After all, it ticked so many boxes. I loved helping people learn.  What I really wanted was to help disadvantaged young people to realise there were possibilities from them.  I was excited to get started.  I’m not sure how long it took for the realisation to dawn, but the entire ethos of the place and the lack of ambition in the team was really difficult going.  Learning was a treat as a tick box and there was little imagination put into the curriculum.  As an innovator, all my efforts to breathe some excitement and life into doing things differently simply hit a brick wall.   

When to give up

I worked there for about 9 months. Once I finally resigned I looked back and realised I had wasted about 6 months procrastinating about whether to go or stay.  Initially, I worked part-time and the organisation needed someone full time.  It was at the point where I said I didn’t want to increase my hours, but if they wanted to recruit someone full time, I was happy to go, I realised I was hoping they would ask me to go.  But no, instead they said they wanted me to stay. They decided to appoint a full-time person also.   I had to admit I was hoping they would make the decision for me, so I could no longer cling to my mistake. So the next day I went in and handed in my resignation. 

The thing is we all make mistakes but we also need to know when to give up.  I had a strong internal feeling and voice which was telling me this was not the right job for me and I just continued to ignore it until I no longer could.  There have been many times when I ignored my internal voice. But as I’ve grown, if I feel it, I listen.  It may not seem logical, but if my intuition is telling me to give up.  I do.  No time is wasted though.  We must try things we are attracted to, to see if they are really for us.  The catalogue of choices is large and any wrong choice is often an essential experience to lead you to the right choice in the end. 

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