Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Right to Screw Up

Everybody has the right to screw up, whether on something as small as a household project (I've exercised my right to do so too many times to count) or as large as their entire life (seen a few of those too).  The biggest reason I screw up: not asking for - or accepting - advice.  From do-it-yourself books and the internet to do-it-my-way friends and relatives, there are endless sources of advice out here.  So where's the line at which one should (or shouldn't) let someone exercise their right to screw up?  My litmus test is whether a potential screw-up could cause physical harm or substantial financial loss.  The fact of the matter is that learning by doing is an innate pleasure - at least as satisfying as "book learning " in my estimation.  (In fact most of us probably read enough to ensure that we're not going to screw-up big-time - and then we go ahead because we're excited to "get at it".)  Accomplishing something by yourself is a real source of pride, although involving others may ultimately end up being faster and more successful.  I'd like to publicly thank all those who have advised me in the past, whether I've taken their advice or not.  I have some pretty handy friends and relatives who, as I approach middle age (!), can still teach me a lot and I'll continue to ask for your advice.  But I reserve my right to screw-up.