Learning Lessons When It’s Too Late
Mistakes can be costly. The damage of a single mistake can cost a few dollars or an entire livelihood.
In an ideal world, we’d learn our lessons before we had the chance to make any mistakes. That way, we could avoid ever making them. It’s like going to school, where kids are placed in a controlled environment to train for real life without having to experience the harsher consequences of making mistakes as an adult.
Then again, learning is a process. As long as we are alive, we continue to gain knowledge about things that matter to us. Although there are many lessons to be learned in school — both academic and practical — sometimes, the real world is more instrumental in teaching us the more valuable ones.
My husband, Jared, and I have just learned an extremely important lesson — perhaps the most important lesson we’ve learned in our entrepreneurial careers. It’s something school never prepared us to face. For the first time since starting our small business, we fell victim to an elaborate online scam. An anonymous person hacked into a trusted business partner’s social media and contacted us, pretending to be our partner. The hacker managed to swindle a large amount of money from us.
We haven’t experienced anything nearly as dire as this in our four years as entrepreneurs. Though we’ve heard stories of our own clients falling victim to seemingly legitimate vendors who turned out to be fake, we always thought our business experience would give us the edge over anyone trying to scam us. We became complacent in dealing with people we trusted. Yet, we failed to realize that the online channels through which we communicate aren’t always secure. This weakened our self-defense and left us vulnerable to an attack.
No matter how competent we think we are, everyone has weak points, because no human being is perfect. In order to deal with our weaknesses, we need to be aware of them. Jared and I failed to do that.
Looking back, Jared and I encountered many warnings about how scams are often conducted, but we never took them seriously because we didn’t think it could happen to us. It serves as a reminder for us not to be complacent, and to always be prepared for the worst.
We should approach health conditions, like Jared’s hemophilia and seizure disorder, the same way. Though they aren’t causing any major problems right now, unexpected incidents can happen. And if something troublesome does happen (knock on wood!), we need to be ready to face it.
Jared and I both admit that we are a pair of fairly hardheaded people. Jared is aware of his subconscious desire to prove to himself and others that he is capable, despite his disabilities. Sometimes, this lures him into dangerous territory and causes him to exceed his limitations by an unhealthy (or outright dangerous) amount.
My own mental health struggles give me similar tendencies. From a young age, I was primed for achievement and excellence. High standards were set for me after I became known as a “child prodigy” for being able to read at age 2 and getting high scores on a standardized IQ test. I brought my desire to overachieve far into my adult years. I always wanted to do more, more, more. I developed a heightened sense of focus that let me zoom in on one thing at a time, but also made me oblivious to my surroundings.
While being stubborn has its benefits, it also exposes us to certain risks. And one grave risk is ending up learning lessons only after we’ve made our mistakes. By then, it could be too late.
One haphazard move could cost Jared his good health, or worse, his life. And in my case, being too excited about earning money could deeply endanger my family.
Finding middle ground is a must in our respective and combined situations. Jared needs to respect his chronic illnesses as a part of himself, whereas I must learn to slow down and think twice or thrice before making business transactions. We also need to listen to other people’s (and each other’s) well-meaning advice so we don’t end up making serious mistakes and only learning our lessons when it’s too late.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.