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Careful Vine Planting

“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His
errors are volitional, and are the portals of discovery.” — James Joyce

This certainly puts a different twist on the concept. The only
requirement is that one is “A man of genius.” If so, you don’t make mistakes,
you merely commit errors, on purpose. Try that one the next time you screw up,
“It’s no big deal. I just decided to make this mistake in order to open the
portal for discovery.” You can also note that on your resume where you explain
why you left your last job.

Niels Bohr said, “An expert is a man who has made all the
mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.” Of course, Bohr does qualify as
a man of genius; but to assume that he too is suggesting that those mistakes
are the portals for discovery is likely not correct. A little folk wisdom may
be more to the point. “Why are things always in the last place you look?” “It’s
because, once you find it, you quit looking.”

Confucius has a better perspective, “A man who has committed a
mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” George
Washington also joins in on the same side of the matter, “To err is nature, to
rectify error is glory.” As you hustle to rectify those errors, it will help to
allay your anxiety if you remember Robert Henry’s advice, “Don’t ever be afraid
to admit you were wrong. It’s like saying you’re wiser today than you were
yesterday.” While you’re at it, though, don’t overlook Frank Lloyd Wright’s
insight, “A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his
clients to plant vines.” Since you are the architect of your success, you would
do well to minimize the number and size of the vines required to cover up your

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