It seems the moral lessons that are ever-present within Greek mythology prove to be both timeless and valuable. The story of Icarus and Daedalus just happens to be one of the best.
The Story of Icarus
Daedalus was a bright inventor and sculptor whose own brilliance caused him to be banished to an island, along with his son, Icarus. Being the architect that he was, he created wings made of feathers and beeswax for he and Icarus to fly off of the island. Before their flight, he warned Icarus not to fly too high in which case the heat from the sun’s rays would melt the wax on the wings and cause him to fall. In short, Icarus, captivated by the sheer beauty of the sun, didn’t follow this advice and fell out of the sky to his death.
1. You Take Risk-taking To A New Level
Anytime you take the plunge into a new venture, be it business or leisure, there’s going to be certain risks associated with it-this we know. However, you take huge risks without considering there long term implications or impact. Perhaps you didn’t account for them, or maybe you assumed that you can counter them by overcompensating in other areas-which hardly ever works out in your favor. It’s helpful to use a practical “pros vs cons” approach to assessing risks for both the long and short term.
2. You’re Too Smart For Your Own Good
Too much of anything can spell disaster for the human condition-even intelligence and creativity. Though brilliance is typically met with esteem and adulation, it can be just as quickly maligned if it’s used with deceitful or manipulative intentions. Are you using your intelligence in a positive, innovative way to contribute to the greater good? Or are you more concerned with one-upsmanship and exclusively self-serving agendas? (*ahem* Bernie Madoff)
3. You Have Unrealistic Optimism
A term created in 1925 by psychologist Frederick Hansen Lund, is defined as a judgmental bias that tends to affect people’s subjective estimates of the likelihood of future events in their lives-in short you overestimate the good, and underestimate the bad. I think even the most self-proclaimed pragmatist can be guilty of this at some point. Your desire for triumph can cloud your better judgement, causing you to turn a blind’s eye to the blunt reality of your situation.
4. You’re A One-Man Army
Motivated by the freedom of their independence and the necessity of sales, it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to wear many hats while starting or building their business. The lack of financial resources coupled with the increase of various operational and administrative tasks can be a huge strain on anyone. You think that you can push through it, or that no one else is going to do it to your satisfaction-which may be true. However, doing too much can cause you to lack the attention to detail needed for different aspects of your business, and it can also cause you to run into scheduling issues later on.
It’s ok to get help. There’s a sea of young and eager potential interns, outsourced admin staff, and an ever-increasing number of automation products that can help you cut yourself a bit of slack.
Gathering an understanding of your dominant character traits can have a great impact on your self-improvement if you find that certain situations in your life or business seem to repeat themselves. To be human is to err, and though our intent is to learn from our mistakes, it doesn’t mean that we won’t fall victim to the relatives of previous mistakes.