Making the Same Mistake

You’ve heard it a million times: “It’s OK to make a mistake, but never make the same mistake twice!” Or “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” One of the giant myths we love to believe is that we make a mistake only once.

Buster no longer eats flowers. Why not? Because I no longer put flowers anywhere he can find them or climb to them. I finally changed, as he would not.

It’s simply not true. We not only repeat mistakes, we repeat them most of our lives. We all know the woman who has dated the same kind of man all her life. Falls for the same type, the same profession, the same opposite-to-hers values. We wonder why she does that as we stride into Starbucks and order “the usual.”

We are creatures of habit and most of us don’t like change. We do the same thing over and over because we know how to do it that way. Even though we know the definition of insanity, we keep hoping for different results.

Change is hard. It’s great the first three days when we are filled with resolve and motivation. Then our friends begin to tell us they like us the way we are. Or our family hurls the ultimate insult at us: I don’t know who you are anymore, you’ve changed!

Well, I hope so. I’d be really bored with someone who didn’t change over a whole life. I sincerely hope we grow, we learn, we adapt, we re-invent. Because making the same mistake over and over again, and hoping for growth anyway is a new definition for insanity.

We are going to make the same mistake over and over unless we take a look at the reason for the mistake, and change our habits. It’s hard, really hard to stop making the same mistake over and over again.  But it also painful to keep making the same mistake–even if we do it in new and inventive ways.

That’s why having a coach is useful. They encourage you to create a new vision and a new way, and they hold you accountable for walking toward the goal. And then, they walk with you, because change is not easy and making mistakes is painful.

Quinn McDonald still takes on too much work and needs more sleep. She and her coach are working on it.