One of my passions in life is writing computer programs. They are a creative outlet for me as well having practical utility. I have programs that perform a variety of functions from calculating how much fuel I will need to fill the gas tank in my car to balancing my checkbook. Now it may seem archaic to design programs which are readily available through an app on a Smartphone. Writing customized programs is a labor of love and besides I have more control as to how the program works. It take can take as little as 30 minutes to as much as a week to develop something depending on the complexity. Over time these programs evolve as features are added and improvements are made. Observing the iterative versions of a program, I see in some cases the development has occurred over a course of years. Many times modifications are needed because the program fails to give the expected outcome. Either there is an error in the program or the data presents “real life” scenarios which the program was not designed to handle. Working through the debugging process and trying to resolve a complex problem can meet with some frustration but at the end of the day, the program is better. When I look back on previous versions of a computer program, I see the current one is significantly better. I believe this is a good analogy toward becoming more excellent in our lives.
We all make mistakes from time to time. However those individuals who actively pursue excellence in their lives because they have a dream, a goal or are aiming to be proficient in a particular skill will find it hard to accept errors. The idea is to move closer to the outcome you seek and errors or falling short can be very disappointing. To those extremely motivated achievers do not be too hard on yourself. In my book, “Success is Within You”, I explore the concept that it is possible for humanity to be perfect. For those that truly seek to be better, perfection is not a destination, perfection is the process of self-improvement. Even a computer program that works as designed can be improved and you can always better yourself. Yet when you make an error, is there something you can change that would prevent the error in the future? When I modify a program to fix an error or address a particular issue, it becomes a better program. Similarly we can modify our own human program when it produces errors or outcomes that are less than ideal. Acknowledge that an error has been made and take appropriate action to fix it. Afterward we can reflect on preventing similar mistakes in the future. It is in this self-reflection that we learn to be better if we so choose. I say if we so choose because for some this will not be a learning process because they choose not to learn and grow from their mistakes. However, if you choose to be better, if you are choosing the pathway of excellence, you will see your errors with more openness because you desire to be better and embracing your errors and learning from them is the process that takes you toward excellence and being a better YOU.
Michael W. Jackson