WARNING: THIS ARTICLE MAY CONTAIN SOME KNOWLEDGE
“Is stupidity a disease? Some mad genius needs to get working on its cure. I would be first in line to volunteer for clinical trials. Be it a vaccine or a panacea; sign me up because I am done doing stupid things.”
That is a thought I had some time back when I did something of questionable intelligence. Only a few short weeks later, I did something equally if not more stupid. I let frustration get to me and took it out on my company laptop. The mdosi witnessed it. There aren’t enough apologies in the world to help atone for this. Throwing such a tantrum at work can be blamed on all kinds of things. Hormones, womanly wiles (yes, I will stoop that low), anger mismanagement and whatever other scapegoat anyone could think of. But the point still remains. I was stupid.
Over the years you could evaluate your own life and see various moments where a hastily made decision landed you in avoidable trouble. There are things I have done that make my subconscious go, “SMH.” I carried my cell phone in high school and earned a two week suspension. I spoke to my father like he was my age-mate and he promptly threatened to disown me. I called a friend unsavoury names, he went ahead to show me I was the one who deserved the aforementioned names. I once ignored my mother’s suggestion and ended up doing something I will regret for most of my life.
All decisions have consequences and the ones with the hard-to-swallow results are the ones made when the IQ decides to take a rest or depart altogether. They say to err is human, but some of these “errs” shouldn’t be made in the first place.
So I wonder what would happen if these mistakes aren’t made? I wouldn’t have a renewed healthy respect for my job. I wouldn’t learn to be more discreet when sneaking gadgets into a place where it’s not allowed. I try to give my father more respect than he deserves. My friend is now only called sweet names like Pooh or Bear. I always ALWAYS listen to my mother.
Mistakes- even the ones borne out of stupidity- have a way of turning into a positive outcome. Just because you endured a moment of stupidity, doesn’t necessarily mean the world has come to an end. Unless you were given the big red shiny self-destruct button that was attached to some nuclear fission device and you press it because you wanted to see what would happen. In that case, you should probably do the rest of the world a favour and get a lobotomy.
Mistakes are the reason why we enjoy most of the conveniences we have today. Things like antibiotics came about because of Lewis Pasteur’s carelessness. Or maybe he was fascinated by how the moldy penicillin grew.
Sweetener was “discovered” by Constatin Fahlberg.[i] He was working with coal tar in the chemistry lab then left to go have his supper. The man forgot to wash his hands and went ahead to eat his bread. He then noticed that it tasted sweeter. The napkin he used to wipe himself was sweeter as well. Even his water was sugary. True to his scientist self, he went back to the lab and tasted everything he had worked on until he found the saccharin. I dare you not to wash your hands after working in a lab. Poison yourself at your own risk.
Corn Flakes, one of my favourite breakfast cereals, were created by accident too.[ii] Dr. John Kellogg and his brother Keith were the health nuts back in their day. They were trying to eliminate caffeine by using a coffee substitute made by a kind of granola. They cooked it but got called away in the sanatorium where they worked. When they returned, the wheat was stale. They decided to go ahead with processing it and instead of coming out as long sheets of dough, they came out as flattened wheat berries. They then baked the flakes and boom, there’s your breakfast.
Now I am not saying throwing a tantrum at work would have turned me into some new age Bill Gates because I somehow managed to come up with a tensile material that protects electronic gadgets when banged in anger, but perhaps I should be less hasty to judge mistakes. Be they from a lack of forethought, I should just learn from them and move forward. Johann Wolfgang Goethe said, “By seeking and blundering, we learn.” Mistakes may turn out to be the best things that happen to you.