Living and Mistakes

Published on November 7, 2016 (↻ February 5, 2024), filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

Straight to the point: We can’t make a mistake living our own lives.

A counter to the fear of doing wrong, the harmful idea of guilt, as well as unhelpful doubt, the statement’s power lies in the realization that it is, that it must be impossible for us, as individuals, to live our lives “incorrectly,” that we could ever make a mistake living. Impossible.

This doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t make mistakes—whatever a mistake really means—, but that on an existential, on an overall level, living cannot be compared to not knowing how to, um, fly helicopters (I still don’t, either), how to build high quality websites, or how to avoid ever stepping on anyone’s toes. (I know, what examples.)

The observation stems from past personal struggle, a struggle that I had used to amplify my own efforts to work on myself. Very near my own personal set of beliefs, I had this idea that I was “always” doing something wrong, that I was “always” making mistakes. Apart from the hostile, absolutistic wording (cf., hat tip Eric Couillard, Nonviolent Communication) the message was of course nonsensical: I couldn’t possibly make a mistake living my own life. Neither can you; neither can anyone of us.

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!