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Errors of Yesterday — Sept. 15 – 16 2001, @NDA, Kaduna

errors of yesterday

GROWING UP, mistakes and errors are the awkward situations of life that we cannot really completely blot out of our experiences. Sometimes they could’ve been avoided if we had been a little more tactful though; but in most other cases they couldn’t be avoided anyway. Sometimes they are not of any great account really, but at other times they seem so horribly glaring that whenever we remember them, the embarrassments they caused us in the beginning come back afresh as though we’ll never be able to ever outlive them.

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Our mistakes and blunders, wrong statements and poor judgements; our crimes, sins, failures, etc, of the past can be awfully difficult to deal with especially if or when other people know about them. Often times we feel ourselves grow helpless and weak every day whenever we are reminded of our past bad records. We become timid, withdrawing and self-demeaning. Unable to take on new challenges and make meaningful progress in life, we wallow in remorse and self-pity, denying ourselves the joys of true fulfilment...

When this happens, you are afraid to progress. You fear that if you do something good for yourself or for others, someone who knows about your not-so-good past might come out and expose your blunders and perhaps publicly ridicule you. In effect, you therefore contend yourself with the deadly acceptance of inertia, self-doubt and aimlessness. Instead of addressing present issues that will make the present and the future better, you discover that you spend time “trying to clear up the mistakes of yesterday.” You short-circuit your own progress by building up endless cases against yourself: “Oh, if only it hadn’t happened to me”, “If only I were a little bit more fortunate”, “If only I was born an American”, “If only my parents were rich”, “If only I was able to go to the best university”...

The alibis and excuses go on and on and before you know it you become an unfocussed person with self-limiting thoughts. You soonest become the loser who finds excuses for losing, rather than the winner who always looks for ways to win. Your life is left uncatered for, your future more or less given up or even lost, all because you waste today’s precious time trying to clear up the errors of yesterday!

But we must learn to accept reality always. Whatever that is gone is gone, whatever that has happened has happened. We must endeavour to always make the best of all that comes and the least of all that goes. One of my favourites from the scriptures reads: “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are ahead, I press toward the mark for the prize...”

You’ve got to know how to see the past as it really is – finished and done with. You’ve done the best you could. Perhaps your best wasn’t good enough; maybe some blunders and absurdities crept in and you couldn’t help but make a mess of things. But never worry much anymore, never mind. I encourage you to ignore those past mistakes and errors as you press toward the mark for the greater promises of tomorrow. And when you’re finally through, please don’t forget to invite me over for a glass of wine. Catch ya!

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"When all else fails, immortality can still be attained through specatcular error!"