Browsing the archives for the mistake tag

Laser Ninja Robots and the French Revolution

family, Life as it is, Mistakes

As a master of making mistakes, it is important that I recognize them and learn from them. That way I can stop making that same mistake and go out and find some new error while trying to do well.

A Video Worth Watching

In this case of an error on my part, it has to do with the French Revolution and planning. Now, I don’t mean to say that I am a revolutionary or an instigator of uprisings or anything of the sort. Rather, it has to do with my son’s report for school on the French Revolution and his decision to earn extra credit through making it a video – and, to his credit, making it the sort of wonderfully funny video that only he could make.

My Mistake

My error in this was simple. My son told me that this was his decision and that he had some ideas. Like a concerned parent that has learned some wisdom, I did try to stay out of it so that it could be his own vision and humor and video to present to the class. In addition, I also demonstrated some additional learning from other mistakes by watching to make sure he was making some forward progress. That is, I noted his study on the French Revolution and even saw that he had gotten DVD’s of documentaries on the subject, after all, I had seen what happened in his test of whether teachers really read the essays turned in for a grade.

But in hindsight, that wasn’t enough. I realized this at midnight on the night before it had to be turned in, when I realized that while fully animated, he had not yet rendered the video. Knowing what sort of computer he has in his room and how ancient it is, I quickly offered to install the software on my photoediting system so that the rendering would complete that night. And he still had to assemble the final video from there.

My mistake was simple. I have spent a long time learning how to plan and execute complex projects, but I have never sat down and shared that knowledge with him. Now, I am not talking about formal project management and creating gantt charts, but rather simpler planning on how to get from here to there – once we have identified where here and there are.

What I am Learning

I am a fan of the Getting Things Done, or GTD if you prefer, system by David Allen for most of what I need to be done. And while my execution of the system is flawed and erratic, I have long since loved and used his Natural Planning Process for most of my one-man projects at work and home. I even once made this simple diagram while reading and rereading the details of the process in David Allen’s book and I keep a copy on my wall at work where I can always see it:

[Image removed due to incompatibility issues in IE]

So I met with my son and reviewed these questions – trying to help him see where we can do better next time. In discussing what “wild success” means, it became clear that the video could have been made much cooler than it already is. When translating “wild success” to “the most awesome thing you could imagine your project doing at the end”, he responded, “It could have ninja laser robots worked into it somewhere.”

So there you have it from one wiser than me. Plan your french revolution properly, and laser ninja robots might just save the day. Of course, as it is, the teacher kept a copy and shared it with every class he had that day. Imagine what would have happened, had we hit the wild success of the laser ninja robots worked into the story line as well.


“Because I am Furious” is Never a Good Reason

Spiritual Journey

Normally I try to focus on mistakes I have made and the lessons I learn from them. Tonight, though, I almost made a mistake, realized it, and made a different choice. That was such an unexpected wisdom, I had to mention it. Also, I fear that it is not the first time I have tried to make a mistake like this.

I went to the gym tonight to hire a personal trainer. It’s been a to-do item for a long time and today seemed like a good day since I am starting a weight-loss competition at the office today. The salesman and I sit across from one another and we haggle the price on a solution that I could not afford this month or next month or any of the months for the one year term to which I was agreeing. I kept thinking how foolish this was. I am trying to save money – not pay more than my car payment for someone to make sure I show up and work out.

A Calm Rage

So I finally stepped back while he tried to get his manager to accept my offer and asked myself why I was going to do this. And I screamed my answer back to myself, “Because I am Furious!”

I already was aware that I was angry. I noticed it on the drive and there were a number of reasons for it – not the least of which was the need for joining this weight-loss competition. But what made me stop and think was the fact that there was such a sense of entitlement attached to that answer. Like doing something that will cause me a year of financial stress and potentially damage me and my family is a reasonable thing to do just because I am angry.

It was just so matter-of-fact. I am angry, therefore I will go do something stupid and risk harming myself because that is a good and right solution. And it felt like an argument that had worked many times before….

I did not buy anything. I took a price sheet and a card and left. And I thought about healthier solutions. Better alternatives. And so instead, I went to the local massage place (where I had a credit for a massage) and found I was early enough to get a one-hour massage. I even had enough time to sit in their “relaxation room” and just feel my feelings and breathe and start to let it all go before the massage.

This was a victory for me. I don’t always see my way out of my anger – usually I just get lost in it. But tonight I chose a healthier path. And so in following the wisdom of “Celebrate every Victory” I share this with you all….

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Grabbing the Bull by the Horns

Life as it is, Mistakes, Twitter

I have been busy lately. Lots of things have been happening, and so of course I have been making mistakes and learning from them.

  • My photography class on wildflower photography was a success, but an uncalibrated monitor taught me a lot more about post processing than I ever imagined.
  • I won a $1 bet with a friend of mine about redecorating and designing my home computer room. What I learned about 10-year old dirt in the corners is not sharable on a family-rated blog. (My teens read this, I fear.) I also got a crash course in vacuum maintenance.
  • I found an unexpected sunset hour to photograph birds in Brazos Bend State Park, and learned not to look away from alligators that are within six feet of me

But there has been another learning mistake as well. I mentioned previously the White Bread Warning, that if I use the same recipe, I will get the same bread. And I am finding that to be absolutely true in regards to this blog and my Twitter feed.

Time and again, I think of something interesting to write, and decide instead that it can wait a day because at least my Twitter entries, or tweets, are still being posted for that day. And then days become weeks, and the weeks start to stretch on as well. Pretty soon, I have the same result of empty blogging – a blog made up of tweet entries. And my main thoughts and ideas that I want to share being put off again and again.

So it is time to take the bull by the horns and turn off the feature that took tweets and made them blog entries. It’s a neat feature, but I am falling into the same trap I fell into previously. I will still keep the Twitter sidebar up of what I am recently doing, but those tweets just won’t become posts.

This forces me to write and to write regularly. And trust me, I need the practice! And well, I always have some wisdom to share that I learned from some recent mistake.

This way, when I next want to share with you how I learned that sandals offer zero toe protection from “stubbing impact” because of my error in not looking where I am going – well, now I will have to really blog about it and not rely on the tweets catching it anyway….

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