Monday, 1 February 2010

Replace dead-end projects by workable plans (Part 1 of 3)

Few things in life are as difficult as acknowledging mistakes, in particular those that we have made out of conviction. Choosing an unsuitable profession or marrying the wrong person generate a myriad of negative consequences. Many who suffer from those situations hang to their errors with unshakable determination.

Why do we feel such a strong urge to deny our mistakes? Why do we often devote efforts to looking for excuses rather than solutions? Refurbishing a building with structural problems is pure waste; even if you paint the ceiling and plaster the walls, problems will remain and continue to grow.

In retrospect, it is easy to identify dead-end projects. If we look back at Alexander the Great, we can see that his dream of conquering the world was a foolish adventure. Similarly, if we look back at the Byzantine Empire, we can see how the erosion of principles ruined its legal system.

On the other hand, acknowledging that a beloved current activity may be a dead-end project is a whole different question. Human beings seldom stop detrimental actions even when errors become apparent; instead, we come up with a hundred reasons in favour of continuing what is manifestly unworkable. We do not want to lose face by admitting that we have made a mistake.

Sustainability marks the difference between difficult undertakings and dead-end enterprises. A feasible plan leads to a better future; a hopeless proposition, to endless nightmares. High-quality service leads to satisfied customers; wasteful chaos, to regrets. Learning valuable skills leads to increased productivity; senseless memorizing, to unbearable boredom.

To be continued in Part 2


[Image by flavouz under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]