A writing piece from Scott P. Scheper.
Daily Issue No. 124
Scott P. Scheper
One American Plaza
Downtown San Diego, CA
You (The Person Reading This Now)...
BUT IF AND ONLY IF, THE FOLLOWING THREE CONDITIONS DESCRIBE YOU:
- First, you are an entrepreneur committed to creating, growing, and learning.
- Second, you're interested in: marketing, copywriting, persuasion, life philosophy, investing, science, and technology.
- Third, you do not carry the attitude of a pedantic pessimistic b'hole——meaning: you're not someone who takes life too seriously!
- Also, bonus points if you watch Family Guy, Rick and Morty, or Beavis and Butthead
If this fits you, then I like you. In fact, I consider you a friend.
And thus begins a message for friends...
Sunday, 4:34 pm
There is a saying dating back to at least 1915, which goes, "Everybody makes mistakes—that’s why they put erasers on pencils". While certainly this stands as a useful truism, in some ways it misses the mark.
Last night I was sitting with my family when I first heard this quote. My dad was scrolling through his Twitter feed and came upon it. He read it aloud, and as usual, I couldn't help not keeping my mouth shut!
My position is this: while it's useful to erase mistakes, there is an even more valuable exercise: that is——to not use an eraser at all. Instead, append new, corrected items; that way, you can view a history of your mistakes and see your growth. It also serves as a useful tool in the future for reviewing your past mistakes.
If you're a copywriter, or a writer of any sort, you can apply this principle in practice. How? Take Ryan Holiday's writing workflow, for instance:
Holiday doesn't simply erase his mistakes; he appends them by saving a new version of his working drafts every day. How? He appends the day's date onto the draft after each editing or writing session.
Why are mistakes valuable? Because they curb grandiose ego risk, and they remind you of your mistakes. Charlie Munger says it best: I like people admitting they were complete stupid horses’ asses. I know I’ll perform better if I rub my nose in my mistakes. This is a wonderful trick to learn.
After stating my case against erasers, my mom chimed in and backed me on this. Of course my dad wasn't arguing for the literal idea of forgetting about your mistakes; and neither was the quote. The quote about erasers argues that you should be OK making mistakes. This is 100% accurate. But if you want to experience next-level growth, you need to append better versions instead. More, you need to rub your nose in your mistakes! It's humbling, it's deflating, but after a while, you start to develop a thick skin.
As you proceed with your day, make sure you don't forget this. Rub your nose in your mistakes. Learn from them. Make them, and record them. Only after that can you grow from them.
Scott P. Scheper
P.S. Stay crispy.
Sunday, 5:10 pm
Popik, Barry. “Barry Popik.” Accessed May 23, 2021. https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/everybody_makes_mistakes_thats_why_they_put_erasers_on_pencils. ↩︎
"Each day I resave this Word Document in Dropbox with the an acronym of the title, the phrase working draft and the date—so TOITW-Working-Draft-5-22.", from: Writing Routines. “Bestselling Author Ryan Holiday on Notecards, Mornings, and the Work,” May 25, 2017. https://www.writingroutines.com/ryan-holiday-interview/. ↩︎
25iq. “Charlie Munger on Mistakes,” November 16, 2012. https://25iq.com/2012/11/16/charlie-munger-on-mistakes/. ↩︎
Scott P. Scheper