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10 November, 2011

WHEN IS IT A MISTAKE TO POINT OUT A MISTAKE?


Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. (Albert Einstein)

I am a left-handed dyslexic.  Can it get any worse than that?

Answer:  Yes it can, especially when you live in a world that aspires to, and expects, perfection -- in others.

Souls like me have to be philosophical about the mistakes we make.  I have a perhaps unusual view of perfection.  I strive for it, but never quite attain it.  I accept the fact that I am prone to making mistakes and leave myself wide open to that potential every time I sit down to write something, which is numerous times in a day, or tackle any kind of job that requires manual dexterity.

If I was afraid of making a mistake, I doubt if I would ever undertake anything in life.  It does not take much for me to have pride in both authorship and  workmanship.  The fact that I have totally applied myself to a task, doing my level best, overrides any warts or wrinkles that may ultimately surface in my work.

I have no trouble living with imperfection, in fact to me it is a fact of life.  Little flaws do not trouble me as long as they are easily overlooked or patched up and do no harm in the overall scheme of things.  It is not the same with some people who can pick out a flaw a mile away and have no qualms about drawing it to your attention.

It often comes back to bite me you-know-where, but I am inclined to overlook the mistakes of others because I know how easy it is to slip up or to make an unconscious error.  It has to be a major faux pas, generally one that is personally disadvantageous, for me to react unfavorably.  If I am privy to a mistake that is a harmless one that does not necessarily alter the course of my world, I will let it pass.

While I do not go around looking for the mistakes of others, I also do not issue open invitations for others to point out errors that I may have made.  I am of a rather sensitive nature and easily embarrassed and frustrated when errors are brought to my attention and I always appreciate a kind, constructive, cushioning approach when someone does deem it necessary to correct me.  To have mistakes pointed out just for the sake of pointing them out, is an affront that more often than not is simply annoying.  I am sure that most people look at it that way.

Why then, are there those who feel compelled to point out the mistakes of others?  I am of the opinion that there are a number of reasons:

  • They may think that they are being helpful, interesting or impressive by pointing out some one's mistake. They're not considering that the correction may not be welcomed nor appropriate at that time.
  • They may have a mentality where it just feels 'wrong' to let a mistake slide. They may feel they just have to say something, and get a sense that they're restoring balance to the universe by sharing the Truth with others.
  • Some people may get a little ego boost from being knowledgeable, knowing more than someone else, and getting to show it.
  • Some people may correct others out of a sense of intellectual competitiveness. By pointing out some one's mistake they feel 'one up' over them.


It is interesting to note that the Muslim religion places emphasis on the issues and considerations to be made before and when dealing with and correcting the mistakes of others, i.e.: "When correcting the mistakes of others, it is essential that one's intentions be to earn the pleasure of Allah, not to demonstrate superiority or to vent one's anger or to impress others." 

There is a message there for all of us.

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