I wrote this way back, before I left for my trip, around mid-March 2012. I was going through old posts and found it so I thought I would throw it out to the *WORLD*. What do you think?
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Of course I slept in late. It was the Monday after SXSW which means I hadn’t closed my eyes before 3 a.m. in at least a week. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I had a court date for running a red light on my bike but my ADD mind quickly forgot to check the piece of paper lying on my desk. So I crashed, slept in, and after completing my morning routine, I checked the ticket.
I promise to apper before or on the…
The time was 9:45. This was my second traffic ticket and I was still on probation from the first one for which I still haven’t done defensive driving. Oh, and I missed that court date, too (but it was rescheduled).
Here’s what I could have done:
I could have freaked out. I could have frantically called the court apologizing. I could have whined and pleaded with them to forgive me. I could have worried all day about what would happen.
But I didn’t.
I took a deep breath, got in my car, and drove towards the courts.
I missed the 9:00 am deadline. The ticket said on or before xxxxxxx. No going back now: I missed my chance. This next step, though, is where I have changed my thinking and actions.
Where I used to freak out and worry about the past I now immediately accepted my mistake and moved forward.
The past can’t be changed. This is an obvious observation for anybody. There’s no going back, there’s no time machine, there’s no reset button. Yet, I used to find myself freaking out about a choice I made, on pins and needles thinking about it, worrying, freaking out.
But somewhere along the way I made a few realizations:
Can’t Change the Past
When I was worrying about what was wrong I was wasting serious energy. No matter what I did I couldn’t change what I was worrying about. Somewhere along the way I stopped doing this and only looked forward. It’s been almost a zen realization because I have had to deal with some seriously bad mistakes lately. From slip ups with girls to going into work late (too many times) to missing court. Many of these were big mistakes. But it’s done, it’s happened, I’m accepting it and moving forward.
The Next Step is the Main Focus
Whatever happened, happened. Now, what is the best possible step I could take to fix what I messed up?
Calmly, with a clear mind, I figure it out, going through all my options, breathing deeply, thinking clearly. I can worry all I want but worrying will get me nowhere and will probably negatively affect my next decisions. Just make the next best step. This takes nuts because it forces me to confront all aspects of the decision and think about all the results. They could be extremely bad. I have had some really close calls that could have been life changing. I can’t go back, I need to think about the next decision that needs to be made.
Learn from the Mistake
I’ve found that for the most part : mistake will work themselves out. Maybe it will be only 50% of how bad you thought. Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe you are able to rectify the situation with the correct reactive measures. Whatever happens, if you could go back, what would you do differently? Knowing what I know now, I know that I will be certain to do things and not definitely not do other things. Remembering these things will help not make the same mistakes in the future.
Action / Mistake > Acceptance > Next Best Choice > Learn > Don’t Repeat
It Works Out
I roll into the court at 10:00, an hour late. I give them my ticket, tell them I want to fight the charge, I fill out some paperwork, and they schedule me a date in two months. No problem with being an hour late, it was never even mentioned. Deep breath.
The day goes on.