If You Could Do It All Over Again… (The Dangers Of Aphorisms)

in life •  9 months ago

"Into each life some rain must fall…"
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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(note to self: next time bring an umbrella!)

…I wouldn't change a thing!

Obviously, there are things we all might do a little differently -- if we could… Like -- get into Bitcoin in 2009, grab a few shares of Apple stock and maybe some Netflix while you're at it, bet big on Buster Douglas to KO Mike Tyson, throw a few dollars down on Mine The Bird to win the Kentucky Derby, play every financial bubble in the last 30 years to a tee...

You know.., a few a little things to, more than, set you up financially -- and of course, we'd all like to say --

"If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing!"

And I get that… The whole struggle to get where you are.., the journey -- all the lessons learned along the way… Or is that just the ego talking.., our precious little egos, that can be bruised so easily -- that hates to be wrong. It hates to be wrong so much, we have grown-ass adults, in high level leadership positions, that will go so far as to, create alternative facts (lies/falsehoods), in order to avoid it. Must we really suffer through all kinds of hardships to learn a lesson...

But there must be some things, some moments that just got out of hand and maybe you would handled them differently, if you had another shot -- from sleeping with that questionable "female" hooker in Thailand, or drinking too much at your sisters wedding.

Too more serious issues --

  • Would I have gotten married -- 3 TIMES!
  • Had children / Not had children
  • Bought a house (mortgage)
  • Gone to college / Not gone to college
  • Chose a different career path
  • Said fuck-it and just traveled

…subtle things

  • listen more / talk less
  • laugh a lot
  • forgive freely
  • not worry so much / trust more
  • work smarter, not harder
  • take more chances
  • not try to be so perfect

After all, we humans make about 35,000 conscious decisions a day -- everyday.., day after day, constantly adding up -- 245,000 a week, over 1,000,000 a month, approximately 12,000,000 per year -- that is a lot of of freakin' decisions… Granted, many of these decisions are insignificant.., and these massive numbers, used to point out the fact -- we can't always be right… You will fall down, drop the ball, not rise to the occasion -- that's just life.., it's how we choose to perceive those unwelcome circumstances and what we do next, is what makes all the difference.

I mean, even if you are batting 500%.., you are right, only half of the time -- you are still wrong 500,000 times a month. Shit -- even if you are right 90% of the time, you are still making over 100,000 questionable decisions every year.., without wishing you had a "do-over" or two...

…which brings me to my next question!

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Does Everything REALLY Happen For a A Reason...

"Everything happens for a reason…" we hear this one more than "If I could do it all over again…" To get down to the "brass tacts" of it, it really is just another rehashed, New Agey way of saying, "It was Gods Will." It's funny how quickly we throw Free Will out the window when it comes to things that don't go our way -- or when something so tragic happens we can't comprehend it. We can and do experience moments of synchronicity, when seemingly unrelated things come together and create a meaningful experience.., but they are just moments -- not everything!

To say -- believe.., that everything happens for a reason -- lacks imagination, creative and thoughtful problem solving. Do we really have to experience the atrocities that occur around this world daily, to know they are wrong… Do we have to witness more genocide to know its horror -- NO!!! To accept "everything happens for a reason" is to accept no accountability.., and in essence we become culpable, by propagating this flawed philosophy (if you can call it a philosophy).

And what about the very famous saying -- "I've learned more from my failures, then I have from my successes…" If we learn soooo much from our failures, why are they so hard to admit -- own up to, if they are such great learning experiences… Granted we humans like to take these cute little aphorisms as complete truths.., when in reality, they hold a more subtle, underlying meaning… Many times we use them as a coping mechanism, to deal with failure or grief -- and in essence, undermine their very meaning. We use them as a "get out of jail free card" by writing off that failure, was inevitable -- we've learned to accept this willful negligence.., and go about our day, very rarely, if at all, taking away anything positive from the experience. Another wasted opportunity for growth.., because we choose to take these aphorisms -- literally!

There is nothing wrong in taking comfort in an aphorism or two when things don't go your way.., but to take them as fact, perceive them as some kind of all knowing truth, not only does these thoughtfully put together phrases a great disservice -- it can be down-right dangerous. To believe the massacre of children, whole ethnic groups being slaughtered, that people starving to death afraid and alone, is part of some "bigger picture" -- is just plain naive. We have reduced aphorisms to postcards and bumper stickers, much of the time neglecting their true meaning and many times, in a misguided attempt at some kind of absolution.

But even if we could "do it all over again..," no matter how many times -- bad things will still happen, we will make mistakes.., and hopefully learn from them. Nobody is perfect, all we can do is our best. But explaining away all the ills of your world and the world around you with a silly aphorism (no matter how good it sounds), doesn't do anyone any good. Sometimes SHIT HAPPENS for no reason at all -- and we just have to deal with it!


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Great article!

Everything happens for a reason, and that reason is randomness and probability. Just like in my "Guess the Number" games. You have some partial information so you take a shot at something, and on occasion it works out. Most of the time it doesn't work out but you keep trying when you feel there's a non-zero probability of it working the next time.

Anyway, have a great weekend! Do something random. There's a chance it might be fun! :)

the core of all is long life learning