There are two types of mistakes in life – those we make innocently because we didn’t know better yet and are learning, and there are those we make despite the fact we knew better but made them anyway. Its the latter type that I refer to as “dumb” mistakes.
Every “dumb” mistake I EVER made in my life came because I either:
1. Didn’t set the boundaries for myself to begin with
2. Lied to myself about how broad my boundaries could be without getting burned
3. Tried to live my life too close to those boundaries thinking I could go up to the line without crossing it.
Growing up I made more dumb mistakes then I care to remember, especially during my teenage and young adult years. Then as I matured I realized that every dumb mistake I made stemmed from one of those three things, and I committed to change them. I started setting very clear and firm boundaries for my life and I committed myself fully to not crossing those boundaries or even allowing myself to toy with them in anyway. And as I strove to live true to that commitment it did more to help me succeed than anything else ever has.
Each of us was born into this life with the gift of agency, which means we are in command of ourselves. Having that ability to make our own choices in life is both empowering and exciting – but at the same time, it opens us up to making dumb choices, bad decisions, and even gives us the ability to hurt others by our own actions. That’s why it’s imperative we take command of our agency.
The first step in taking command is recognizing you have agency and you are responsible for it…it’s owning that you are responsible for every decision you make, good or bad…no excuses.
Next you have to be honest with yourself about what boundaries keep you safe from making stupid choices and then be willing to live absolutely inside of those boundaries – not on the edge of them, but a good long distance inside…the further inside those lines the better!
Finally, you have to recognize that the most dangerous game to play is to walk the line of your boundaries, trying to inch as close as you can to danger without crossing over the line. Truth is that the moment you start doing that you have already stepped over the line…even if you don’t realize it yet…
Take command. Set boundaries. Stay well within those boundaries at all times. Never flirt with coming close to the line. Choose not to go anywhere near it. Live each day with integrity. Mistakes along your way are okay because that’s how you learn, but “dumb” mistakes….well they are just that…dumb…so do what it takes to avoid making those. And know that:
“Excelling in the things of righteousness is the most important thing you can do to prepare you to excel in all things.”
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )