A parent takes their child shopping one day, and while driving in the car, the child tells the parent that they need to use the bathroom. This causes a problem as the parent needs to quickly find somewhere to stop so the child can use the bathroom.
Another parent takes their child shopping, but tells their child to use the bathroom before leaving the house. The child says that they do not need to go to the bathroom, so they don’t.
- Again while in the car, the child says that they need to go to the bathroom.
- The parent reminds the child that they warned them to do so before they left
- The child says “but I didn’t need to then”.
- The parent explains that even though they didn’t need to go to the bathroom back then, they should have done so anyway to avoid this problem where they have to go now in the car.
- The child responds “but I didn’t know this happen”
- On one hand, the child is justified, because they cannot knowingly avoid a problem if they don’t know the problem will happen.
- On the other hand, the child was warned that the problem might happen, so they had an opportunity to avoid a problem that -might- happen. Instead of being safe and taking precautions to avoid a potential problem, they chose to take a risk.
- This might be because they think the problem will not happen (without real information to support that)
- Or it might be because they think it’s worth taking the risk because of the benefit of not going to the bathroom (saves time and effort)
- Or it might be because they think the problem is so improbable that it will essentially never happen
This example is a demonstration of the how many people deal with potential problems and risks. While most adults know to go to the bathroom before going somewhere, people still forget, or tell themselves it won’t matter. Perhaps more importantly, people still get into problems that they could have avoided with some caution, and then say they couldn’t have predicted it.
The point is not that you cannot have predicted an issue, it’s that you can do small things to avoid big issues. It’s also not about being able to predict every issues you may have to avoid them, it’s about learning what issues you might have, and avoiding as many of them as possible without going to extremes.
If you learn what issues you might have, you can determine which of them you can avoid. For example, people do not generally understand how material wear and fatigue work. The more you use something and the harder you use it, the more damaged it will become. While people understand this basic explanation, they might not realise that it is not the use of the item that wears it out, it is any force applied to it. This means that if you stack plates on top of each other, putting a lot of weight on them, they might get more wear than if you did not. All it takes to make something last longer is to take care of it. Being gentle with your things and storing and using them properly will allow you to have them for much longer. Most people instead will have something break and simply attribute it to the unpredictable and unpreventable nature of how things work.
This is perhaps why people think that everything has an end; because they see it so much that they accept it as general and unavoidable.
Another example is when you lose things. Many people will repeatedly lose their keys, tickets, and other things which they simply forget about and misplace because they were not paying much attention to them. This can be avoided by having a simple system so you know where to put things. Such a system should account for times when you need to keep things close to you, hidden, ready to use, or when you are not carrying a bag or do not have pockets. The system should also include you consciously putting things away in a place you will remember. Most people make excuses and do not do this, but it only takes a few minutes to set up a system like this, and it will save you a lot more time than that.
The same principle applies to when people are lazy. Putting off something to do later can cause problems, because it might not be available later, or it might be harder to do, require additional work, or you might even not have enough time to do it.
Since you don’t know what issues you will have later, you also don’t know how bad they will be. They could be extremely bad, or only a bother. This is why it is better to avoid them altogether if possible, rather than taking what could be a huge risk, without even knowing.
- To this end, one should consciously and actively try to determine what issues might happen to them. While they might not be able to think of all of them, merely knowing and learning about new issues will help you to avoid them.
- As you learn about more issues, you should also learn about the things you do and if you can do them better.
- In general, being gentle, cautious and balanced will avoid issues caused by extremism. This means that the things you already do should be done well. These include eating healthily when possible, installing anti-virus software on a computer you have sensitive data on, and choosing to not walk through dangerous parts of a city if possible.
- One should also avoid doing things that have high risk, or at least do them carefully and not extremely often. This means you should carefully choose what new things to do, so either not doing things like sky-diving, or if so doing it rarely.
- Finally, one should take precautions to avoid potential problems. This means one should know about issues that will affect them but aren’t a result of their own actions. This includes being targeted by scammers and criminals, and being randomly checked for things such as at airport security or in some other capacity where the person is unavoidably selected by others.
Of course these things are not always possible, so you might have problems anyway. Sometimes these things are possible but are unreasonable, and will cause bigger problems by taking extreme precautions. This argument is not for extreme caution, it is against the extreme risk taking that is promoted in modern society. Hollywood, entrepreneurial philosophy, and even normal people all justify bad decisions with “you have to take risks” or “live a little”, when in reality they are just telling someone to do something stupid. They might in fact have pushed the person to fail by telling them to take the risk, and afterwards they might tell them that there was nothing they could have done to avoid it, when in reality they could have if they had the right mentality. Sometimes risks are worth taking, but that shouldn’t be your default choice. People look at the rewards from risks and tell themselves that those are worth risking failure for, which might be true, but you can only know that if you think it through, not if you simply jump at any opportunity given to you.
This also relates to the modern ideology of acting instead of thinking. People see thinking as missing opportunities and wasting time, but this is only true if you take too long to think. It is also very short sighted, as time spent planning can be much less than the time you waste once you have failed due to not knowing what you were doing, and it can also assure success. Such limited mentalities need to be eliminated, because we do not need a extreme response, we need a balanced and rational way to deal with issues.
The reason people are still using this extreme and reactionary methodology is because it reinforces itself. By not thinking, you make mistakes, and because you don’t think you don’t realise that it is partly your own fault that you made the mistake, and that you could have avoided it. When you stop thinking, you stop growing and improving.
Everyone should think about they mistakes they have made, make, will make, and should take simple and short steps to make sure they are not repeated.