Or: Lessons learned the hard way from ideas that sounded good at the time
When I use hair driers in hotels, I’m frequently hypnotized by the giant warning tag they all have.
You know the one — it warns you in bold red letters not to immerse your blow drier in a tub of water.
For years, I’ve stared at that sign and wondered who thinks we’re so stupid we need to be warned not to submerge a 2,000-watt electrical appliance.
Recently, though, I finally saw it the other way.
I imagined standing there drying my hair, wishing I had one of those fancy Jacuzzi tubs. All I have is the plain old boring bathtub but it sure would be nice if I could sit in some hot water and have those blowers all around making bubbles.
The light bulb goes on. The only thing my bathtub is lacking is the blower jets that push water around. In my hand is a device that pushes air around really fast.
What if …
It’s not like I’ve never had an idea that seemed genius at the time that later turned out to be laughably ridiculous.
As if it’s not bad enough to have to suffer through a big mistake in life, my ego really gets bruised when I thought I was doing the right thing. Not those situations where you sort of know the risk, decide to give it a go anyway, and just like you pretty much expected, it doesn’t work. No, you evaluate your choices and think to yourself “That’s the way!”
Example #1: Taking my mom’s car someplace I wasn’t supposed to be while she was out of town. Surely since I was such a good driver, and essentially a good kid, what could be the harm? I was 16, practically an adult and capable of smart choices. Until I totaled my mom’s car and was hospitalized for several days. The accident wasn’t my fault, but being there at the time was. Hmm, you mean disobeying a direct order can have consequences you couldn’t possibly foresee?
Example #2: Getting engaged to my ex-fiance. I had not yet learned the important lesson that loving someone does not mean you are a good fit for each other long haul, so he proposed and I giddily said yes.
<Cue sound of dynamite>
Example #3: Taking a job because the title and the pay sounded good, even as my gut told me something might not be right. Oh, that’s just nerves because everyone gets a little intimidated when they’re taking an exciting new job, right?
Have you ever had a great idea — that wasn’t? And what did you learn from your mistake?