Let Others Make Their Mistakes

One of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do is let people make their own mistakes.

Whether you’re seeing your child about to make a mistake, or seeing other people making pointless and unnecessary mistakes, it’s hard to watch without stepping in.

It’s even harder when you know those mistakes will hurt you or other innocent people who had no part in making the mistake. In such cases, warning people they are making a mistake is self-defense.

Most people will ignore your warning. It’s frustrating when simple solutions are rejected and the mistakes are treated as the reasonable course.

“This is how we’ve always done it” is a common excuse for doing the wrong thing.

When that happens, brace for impact. It’s going to hurt — unless you find a way to protect yourself. No one is obligated to let other people’s mistakes hurt us.

Except, apparently, when you are talking about government. The way government is structured means you are legally required to suffer the mistakes of others.

How can anyone believe this is right?

It is said people always get the government they deserve. The trouble is, the government the worst people “deserve” gets imposed on the rest of us. This is like saying some people commit murder, so it’s OK to sentence everyone to life in prison. Or to death.

If I see you jumping off a cliff and can’t reason you out of your foolish death-plunge, who believes I’m obligated to jump with you? In any realm, other than politics, no one would expect you to willingly leap to your death just because someone else does so.

People are attached to their political mistakes. They keep making the same ones over and over, for decades; often making the same mistakes their entire lives. Those of us who prefer another path are made to suffer along with those who don’t want to believe they are making mistakes.

It can be frustrating, but like the weather, it’s beyond your control. The best you may be able to do is ride out the storm in as much comfort as possible.

Notice the mistakes others are making, don’t copy them, and find ways to protect yourself — or profit if possible. If you can find ways to profit from their mistakes, after you’ve warned them they are making a mistake and they refuse to change, why shouldn’t you?

You’re not profiting from the suffering of others, you’re honoring their choice.

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Kent McManigal

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