Plugging holes

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying hard to not log on my laptop everyday like I used to, and enjoy my time offline a little more.

So the other day, when I sat down to relax but found a slew of comments from people informing me that I had a spam post on my site, I was horrified to see that someone had managed to publish a post of complete nonsense under a different username! What cheek! I can’t say that I wasn’t a bit upset for losing a couple dozen geek points too for having my security breached.

To all my readers that received it in their feed (damn you google caching), I’m so sorry about that!

I was quite upset and I spent the next hour looking up what could have happened and what I could do to fix and prevent it. Then for the next few days, I logged on twice everyday to check that the spammers weren’t back.

Slowly, I noticed that I was regaining some of my obsessive habits again, so after a few deep breaths,  I came to realize something very important.

We can’t spend our lives constantly plugging holes.

Things like this can happen anywhere and at any time, so I could either let incidents like this push me back on track of constant obsessing or I can fix it, learn from it and move onto bigger and better things.

If we spend all of our time meticulously tracking stuff, looking for problems, and trying to keep every single thing in our lives working, it would be impossible for us to get anywhere. There are too many things in our lives to keep a mental eye on, including anything from our weight, news/gossip, email, finances to our work/grades, gadgets and a thousand other things. To keep something working 95% of the time is infinitely easier than keeping it working 100% of the time.

Being careful about important things (like the security of my blog :S) is definitely helpful, but becoming obsessed can be more destructive to our goals than constructive.

It’s like spending all out time trying to patch up every hole in a run-down house instead of realizing that we’re supposed to be living in it, not maintaining it. So we can either stubbornly stay and worry about all of the things that are wrong with it or we can stop wasting our time and move on.

This doesn’t mean we should give up when things start getting tough, but instead that we shouldn’t let fear of our weaknesses and failures stop us from trying for successes.

In any case, if we happen to make mistakes, we should just take them as lessons learned (I had deleted the spam post straight away but looking back I realized it was probably best to have changed it’s contents to a proper post), and be glad that we even showed up in the first place, which is more than you can say for most people.

Sorry again, and thanks for reading! You can find me on Twitter for daily updates, subscribe to MS via email or leave a comment below!

  • Kyle

    Dear Jessica,
    Thank you for plugging the hole! Amazing post, and it’s amazing how you can turn a problem into a lesson. I have read every post since I stumbled upon your blog last month, and as a fellow college student, I find you to be exceptional in your views. Thank you for blogging!


    • Hello Kyle,

      Thank your for you lovely comment (and for your heads up regarding the previous post!). I guess whenever something bad happens, I try to find the positive side to it, and what better way to do that than to learn from it! Thanks again for your comment 🙂

  • Andre

    “We can’t spend our lives constantly plugging holes.”

    This sentence is really essential for me as it describes the approach of acting instead of reacting. Act on what really matters, but react to things only when necessary. It reminds me of your “one amazing thing” article.

    • Dear Andre,

      Wow, what an insightful comment! Yes, I guess that’s what I was trying to get at, we should make our lives more about acting on things, not waiting passively and then only reacting when something bad happens. Thank you for that, it was inspiring 🙂

  • Layla

    I just heard about the earthquake/tsunami. I don’t know you in real life, but I hope you’re OK!

    I like where you say “be glad that we even showed up in the first place.” Occasionally I let little mistakes overwhelm me – they add up and I decide to go to bed because that way I can wake up tomorow without any mistakes. But I still think it’s better to make those mistakes than not try at all.

    • Dear Layla,

      Thank you for your concern, fortunately, I’m absolutely fine, thank you.

      I totally understand what you mean by hiding away in fear of making mistakes (I also find my bed quite a nice place to do so 🙂 ) but I guess in the long term, running away is the biggest mistake of all, don’t you think so too?

      Thanks again for your comment!

  • Practicing Pareto by focusing on time and energy…sounds like you adapted well. Awareness and acceptance are perhaps two of life’s greatest lessons, the one’s that should be mastered early on for a more simple and gratifying life.

    BTW…Love the metaphor!

    • Dear Stephen,

      Yes that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do lately, practice Pareto! It’s wreaked magic over what I’ve been able to achieve, I think I may write a post about it soon! Thanks for your comment!

  • Tim Ferriss talks about “the art of letting bad things happen” and I think that applies here. You found out that the spam post wasn’t the end of the world. There’s no point spending life splitting our time and attention between things that are really important to us and trying to prevent all the bad things that could happen from happening. Or trying to react to them ASAP.

    I guess this is also what Andre said. Focus on the good big things (acting) and not the little bad things (reacting).

    From someone in Christchurch, New Zealand I hope you, your friends and your family are all fine in Japan.

    • Hey Matt, you’re so right, letting bad things happen really is an art because so many people spend all of their time fretting and worry about ‘what if’s’ and so on, so they don’t actually end up doing awesome things because they can’t stand to let things go for even just a little while.

      Thank you for your well wishes, fortunately I am only studying abroad here in Japan, so it’s just me that I have to worry about 🙂 I’m doing great thank you, and I hope you and and your friends are doing okay in New Zealand too.