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You may be puzzled by the title. There is a Chinese saying that we should not repeat our mistakes more than two times. If we do, then we will suffer the consequence as a result. While I was meditating one day, I was hoping to gain the wisdom to make fewer mistakes and improve my life. As we walk on this path, our ignorance and foolishness end up prevailing, and we make bad judgments. Consequently, our lives become miserable.  We either encounter loss or heartache from repeating mistakes that we made earlier.

How I lost my hotel, how I was trapped by the mafia, how I was tricked time and time again: I kept suffering all the consequences of repeating my mistakes, losing all of my money and wasting my time. As I think about wisdom, I was reminded of a Russian expression: The wise man learns from someone else’s mistakes, the smart man learns from his own, and the stupid one never learns. I like to think that we learn a lot, not only from our mistakes but also from our experiences as well.

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The other day, I found out that the stock company did not perform my stock transaction as I requested. I went to the company every year, but this year as I called to ask for the information, they started to tell me that I did not do it the year before. I was frantic, but I understood that this wasn’t the time to blame anyone. I knew very well that I went in personally every year to take care of anything. Things like this happen for a reason. I remembered the old Chinese saying about not repeating a mistake a third time. So I went in the next morning to try to deal with it. This time, I made a point of talking to the representative and expressing my frustration. He took time to help me through all the details. He had me sign the necessary papers and assured me that he would call me in a few days to ensure everything was done accordingly.

As I walked back to my car, I couldn’t help crying. I didn’t catch this mistake until the second time. I thanked the divinity for reminding me not to repeat my mistakes. How can we prevent this in our lives? We have to take action. I cried because all my life, I made many mistakes. I did not learn from my mistakes and corrected them. I thought I was smart. But then I realized I was a fool. I knew I needed to transform myself from a fool to a smart person. Then and there I told myself that I would go beyond that to become wise.

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Recently, my friend told me about her story. She made a friend who was a pen pal. A couple of months later, that friend asked for help. He encountered a medical bill for his son he was unable to pay off. Out of love, she took care of this bill for a man she never met. Then, he asked for help again because he needed medical treatment this time. He was out of the country and could not access his bank account. This friend of mine, who was so giving and generous, stepped in to help once more. She thought everything was a done deal and that she could get her money back. Then, all of a sudden, he sent an SOS. He needed extra funds to travel back to his home. As I heard this, I kept meditating on it. I kept getting the feeling that this mistake should not be repeated. The third time is not the charm.

As I look at my experiences now and look at my friend’s experience, I see how we both suffered financially and emotionally. We had faced a tremendous loss. I hope that from now on, I will be able to make fewer mistakes and avoid unnecessary loss, not just regarding money, but also regarding emotional and psychological stress. That is why we always look to the elderly for advice because their life long experiences make them wiser. I hope I don’t have to get old to become wise, and from now on, I hope to learn from my experiences and watch out for others. Maybe I will become a wise person soon.