There is a saying that goes something like this “You learn from your mistakes.” but the question is, do we really learn? Many a time I’ve seen people (myself included) commit the same mistake twice, or more. Why is it that although we know certain things are wrong we keep doing them? Surely we do things without realizing what it is that we are doing, but after repeating the same deed over and over again we must know something.
An easy example to discuss would be procrastination. How many of us have fallen into the sweet habbit that is called procrastination? I can raise both of my hands for this one. We’ve all been there doing that essay or project hours (if not minutes) before its due, paying bills, cleaning, calling aunt Marge to invite her to the party, buying the stuff for the party… and the list goes on and on. Although we know the many things that are wrong with this, we keep doing it. A few quarters back I told myself that I would stop being a procrastinator and get my act together, it would only last a week (max) and then I was back again to the same old, same old.
Why do we do this? I think this varies from situation to situation and from person to person. I myself prefer to work under pressure and I feel that I can be more productive during such circumstances. I understand that it shouldn’t be an excuse to put off projects and daily doings for the last minute simply because of that. So I started to look at other possible factors as to why I keep repeating my mistake (one of many). The second reason that I thought of this is because I’ve gotten away with so much over the years. I once had a professor who said she knew when a student was a procrastinator, she assigned a project and expected the best. She gave us a few weeks to complete it, I did it the day before. The best part: I got the best grade in class. The similar story happened over and over all throughout my high school years. When I got to college I figured that I needed to mature and become a serious adult. I did grow up, became more serious about my career but no matter what I remained a procrastinator and it was the same story all over again. So my theory is if you get away with it more than once you will most likely try it again. Thirdly, perhaps its the thrill of the moment. You feel that adrenaline rush, time is defying you and you want to prove everyone wrong. Maybe its the proving part that calls you back over and over again, then again maybe it isn’t.
Like I said it all depends on the situation, and the person. Everyone goes through different experiences and we don’t all feel the same about the same things. The procrastination example was just something that most of us can relate to (at least to some part of it), but what about everything else? What about all those other mistakes we make on a daily basis? They can be as innocent as forgetting to tie your shoelaces before leaving the house or as serious as forgetting to pick up your sibling at the airport (thankfully my siblings don’t travel much). No matter what mistakes you do think about it for a second, what have you learned from them (if you’ve learned anything)? Do you have reasons why you keep doing them or are they just excuses?
The best part of it all is that no matter what it is we can do something about it. If we really want to, we can give it a try to change things around. For some of us our repetitive mistakes not only harm us but they harm those around us as well. Perhaps if we all stopped for a second to think about what it is that we are doing and why we might understand what is going on a little better. Just by stopping to think we’re already taking a huge step. Those of us who want to continue will not only have to be thinkers but action takers and makers. We really can’t expect for others to stop us from making mistakes, we have to start learning on our own.
I’ll be honest with you I will always be a procrastinator but I became an action taker, I’ve been procrastinator free for more than a week.