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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

“when experience is not retained, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

Is the world trying to tell us something?  There are thousands upon thousands of people standed around the world away from their loved ones, unable to start their new job, unable to commence or complete holidays that they've been looking forward to for so long.  And the volcano doesn't sound/look like it's going to stop any time soon (it last errupted in 1820 and that erruption lasted for 2 years.  But people are making do.

Were the million +++ dollar bonuses that Wall Street firms were paying over the last 20 years really sustainable?  Were people kidding themselves thinking it would never end?  The latest scandal involving Goldman Sachs has finally woken up a lot of people, especially considering how conservative they were as an organisation as they seemed to weather the GFC storm pretty well.

Occasionally I come across a book which has a profound impact. I am reading a book on an issue that I have been thinking about for years – how do we truly learn from our mistakes? The book is called ‘Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)’, written by psychologists C. Tavris and E. Aronson.
I have always been intrigued with the incredible capacity of (business) people to rationalise poor management/judgement, totally convincingly and with genuine conviction, on the basis that it was outside their control or actually not something they ever truly agreed with, even when they were in responsible jobs and were paid a lot (of course, when things go well, it was down to their judgement!).

The GFC produced examples such as "no one saw this coming", "we were in the same position as others" etc. In other words, when things go wrong, we all have a capacity to rewrite history to fit our current perception. We search for evidence to support propositions we have already persuaded ourselves are true - mistakes were made by others, but not by me! The problem with this natural human defence/failing is that we don’t learn. This is the real cost and the source of my concern. It’s a business issue as well as a human one.
A great book with an important message! An organisation (person) willing to face into its mistakes, is an organisation (person) willing to learn and thus less likely to repeat mistakes.
I have been going on a bit of an indulgent binge lately, showering myself with frivolous, luxury purchases which fill a void and cause excitement for a few hours.  I am on a zillion online store mailing lists, offering me VIP discounts, free shipping etc.  I am constantly bombarded with SALE! SALE! SALE! mail.  I like to keep abreast of new designers and trends, but my heart is constantly from new items that for some reason I think I have to have.
The latest culprit is The Outnet.  After the chaos of their 1 dollar sale, they are offering free shipping over the next 4 weeks with the code freeshipbday and silly old me has purchased a pair of Chloe heels (granted I've wanted these for a while).  They fit my main criteria - they are suitable for my lifestyle.  But suddenly, due to free shipping, new things start to catch my eye, that I would not have paid AUD30 to have shipped to me otherwise.  This evil cycle has to stop. 

Inspired by a fellow blogger Make Do Style I am going to MAKE DO for the next 40 days.  Finish that half used tub of body scrub instead of trying a new one that a big company has released that's virtually the same as all the other ones, except for the subtle "new" vanilla scent.  Forget the leopard print tights from my favourite high street store.

Instead I'm going to put in more of an effort into my study that I'm further and further behind with, I'm going to do some more cooking, maybe even clear out the pantry.  And not to mention the neglected gym membership.  Surely there are more fulfilling accomplishments in life than buying stuff!

The challenge starts now.  I will post items that I would have purchase, just to monitor my habits and at the end of the 40 days, I bet that I will look back at everything and think.. hmm I didn't really need that after all?

Now, I'm going to enjoy my Chloe scalloped edge heels...


  1. Hi - a point very well made! I have tried a 'fast' before - its very rewarding actually, and did completely alter the way I felt about money and that neeeed I get every now and then, when I have to buy something.

    Its really worth the analysis of why that need is and how simply being aware of all the things out there to buy translates into ordering/buying things that we don't have to have. You might just have inspired me - I was still having guilt sweats about my new handbag. Maybe I will feel better if I purchase nothing now for a while....?
    LB x

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