“You’re afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be. Mistakes can be profited from. Man, when I was younger I shoved my ignorance in people’s faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”
This quote is from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, one of my favorite books. The protagonist, Guy Montag, has spent his life burning books because the thoughts they provoke cause unhappiness. He befriends a man, Professor Faber, with whom he discusses the importance of books and knowledge in general.
This quote has always interested me because it is opposite of my own natural tendencies. I prefer to observe the situations I find myself in before jumping in. If I’m unsure about how something will play out, I often don’t jump in at all. As a result, I rarely venture out of my comfort zone. When I initially read this quote years ago, I realized how foolish my approach was. To sit back is to deny opportunities to grow. Even a bad experience teaches you something.