Saturday, 16 February 2013
The human mind can predict and estimate but it’s often inaccurate whenever it tries. Hence our proven inability to successfully forecast the future. The same inability shows itself on a task as simple as fitting into a tight parking spot. I may be professing a lack of masculinity, but when a parking space looks marginally tight I often find myself unable to visually judge whether I can slot my car into it or not.
I only truly know if I can fit the car in when I slowly inch it into the empty bay. I’m then able to see exactly how close my door mirrors are to the adjacent car as I creep forward. Maybe it’s because cars are not as boxy as before (making their extremities hard to determine), their ever-growing dimensions or my low parking acumen, but for me this highlights just how limited our perception can be.
As simple as it may be, the act of slotting into a tight parking bay is uncannily similar to other endeavors. You only know whether you can do something - open a business, write and sell a book, play a sport - when you go to the coalface and try it. Often you don't even know your own abilities until you give them a stage to perform on. You can't see and anticipate everything by trying to visualize it in your mind. Everything - the obstacles you will face, the opportunities available, your strengths, your deficiencies - is laid bare when you act. Then you know for sure. Until then you're just guessing, more often than not doing a poor job of it.
If I can't fit into a parking bay, I back out and look for another one. Another driver may smirk or even chuckle at my lack of judgement, but I will never see that person again and their opinion, however correct, doesn't matter. Whatever you fail at - fitting into a parking, passing an examination or taking a new product to the masses - know that you'll still be alive afterward and that another opportunity will always be waiting. The cost of a failed attempt isn't as high as most feel it is.