A number of CEOs and prominent individuals in the culture were recently asked what advice they would give their 22 year old selves, if that were possible. Richard Branson, the founder of The Virgin Group, said something very interesting about how we view ourselves and others - and, especially, how we react to the mistakes that other people have made in their lives. He wrote, at his present age of 64:
I am not the person I was 42 years ago. I am not even the person I was two years ago. We all change, we all learn, we all grow. To continually punish somebody for the mistakes they made in the past is not just illogical, it is plain wrong.
He advises his early self, and any of us who will listen, to be a person who embraces the possibility of change, both in yourself and in others. He says:
We all deserve a second chance. Next time you have the opportunity to give somebody their second chance, don't think twice.
I know I've needed second chances, and sometimes more chances than that. Maybe you have, too. It's good to remember this when we consider our attitudes toward others. When we give people the chance to change and grow and improve, we enable ourselves to benefit from what can result in their lives, so that our mercy, forgiveness, and even embrace of them can enhance our own lives as well as theirs.
Here's to second chances! And more. And to Richard Branson's bit of life wisdom.