backingupI drove for Fed-Ex for a long time, and one of the first things they instruct you on is this: 75% of all accidents in the company occur when the driver is backing up. Three out of four. The course continues to explain that as a professional driver, you should only back up when absolutely necessary.

I had an accident while driving for Fed Ex. The only no-fault accident you can have, according to the company. Because I wasn’t even driving, and the keys were not even in the ignition. I was inside a Hollywood Video, delivering packages, when a lady went out to her car, buckled her child into his car seat, got behind the wheel, and promptly backed right into my truck, parked behind her. Her excuse? I never even saw it.

My daughter’s first accident involved backing up. My now ex-wife backed into our garage door one winter, my first ever use of my rental insurance. Both argued they thought they had room, or “couldn’t see.”

Everyone says that hindsight is 20-20. But that is bullshit. Because perhaps you can see clearly decisions you could have made differently, but you can’t see what the consequence of those decisions might have been. You can only guess, and when we as individuals try to do that, we almost always assume the most positive outcome, even though life itself proves to us over and over that shit happens, even to good people.

Sure, we can learn lessons from the past, and gain wisdom in the decisions we make going forward, but like driving, in life we should back up only when absolutely necessary. Once a decision has been made, moving forward is almost always the best option.

Looking back, learning from past mistakes and victories? Definitely worthwhile from time to time. But backing up and trying to re-make decisions or reverse them? That almost always ends in disaster.