No Reflection, No Wisdom

It is clear that self-criticism is an important feature of a person who wants to improve. I have been chasing physical and cognitive endeavors for most of my life, and I would not have gotten anywhere if it weren’t for my ability to self-reflect, realize where I am weak, and take action to adjust.

In fact, with martial arts I hit some critical points where I needed to adjust or succumb to perpetual state of failure. I started learning Taekwon-do when I was seven years old, and got my black belt about three years later. Because of my size and personality( I tend to be laid back), I did not do very well in sparring competitions. I would regularly do the bare minimum in my sparring matches to be considered a participant. However, as I got older I began to dislike losing, a lot, and I wanted to change it.

In order for me to become a better fighter, I had to honestly asses my level, identify what was holding me back, and make adjustments. I did just that. I knew if I got better at throwing a lead-leg side kick, my defense and offense would drastically improve. So I got a classmate to help me with the movements of throwing lead-leg sidekicks in a dynamic environment, then I started applying the technique to my sparring matches, and it changed the game for me. As I continued to learn from my mistakes, and get feedback from my father (who was my coach), I made incremental improvements until I was winning tournaments all over the country. This is just one example of learning from my failures to improve, there are probably too many to count. However, I never let perfection get in my way, If I did something badly, I kept trying until it was better. I was not possessed by the idea that one of my previous mistakes doomed to eternal failure, because for the most part, that’s how life is. We do our best, make mistakes, hopefully reflect, re-adjust and get back on track. But our culture is on a different track, if some body makes a mistake on Twitter they not ever be forgiven.

Last year Kevin Hart had to step down from hosting the Oscars because of Tweets he made nearly ten years earlier. Kevin Hart is a comedian, so of course he is going to make offensive jokes, but even with that understanding aside, the fact people were upset with him over jokes he made a decade ago is a serious problem. It demonstrates an obsession with people criticizing others for not being perfect within the ever changing landscape of acceptable social discourse.

In order for people to grow, they must be allowed to make mistakes. In order to become a better fighter you have to get hit, to become a stronger debater, you have run into arguments you didn’t anticipate, after those difficult experiences you learn what not do, and also how to react. However, in the current cultural climate people are losing jobs and are attacked for things they said in the past, things which used to be acceptable, and they are not given a chance to be redeemed.

People must lack wisdom and reflection to viciously attack others for past jokes, and not allow room for explanation or apologies. The internet mobs are full of people possessed by mob-mentality. They think it’s cool to dog pile on someone to signal their virtue. It is also a sign of immaturity. People who live life, as in try their best and put themselves in positions to fail, are often forgiving of people who make mistakes, because that is what happens in life; we try, sometime fail, then learn. So if you find yourself soiling your clean new underwear because someone said a gay joke on Twitter ten years ago, try doing something with your life, and when you actualize the perfection you crave, then let your peers be the judge.

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