Make Bigger Accidents

posted in: Uncategorized | 5

or Why You Should Start a Forest Fire

August 16th, 2012



He was 26 years old when he burned the forest down. Over three hundred acres of virgin woods, gone.


Sure one could blame the unusually dry season or the windy day. Those factors certainly didn’t help. He was already unsuccessful as a writer, teacher, tutor, and even a general handyman, so blaming him wasn’t hard either. Had he been a famous author or a sports star, perhaps things would have been different. But he was just a 26 year old, sort of drifting through life, who on one Tuesday afternoon after catching some fish, lit a match for a small cooking fire.


And he ended up setting the whole forest ablaze.


Starting a forest fire is a fairly large scale accident. And it certainly had a profound impact on him. The community shunned him and he felt completely overwhelmed by the incident and the general state of his life. Less than a year later he would end up moving into a cabin near the very woods he had accidentally burned to the ground. His time in the wilderness was focused on living simply, self-reliance, meditation, and writing. A few years later, in 1854, the now 36 year old Henry David Thoreau would publish a book based on his time spent in his wilderness cabin. His book A Life in the Woods, or better known as simply Walden, was based on his time spent living in the wilderness in solace.


All thanks to his big accident.


Embrace your mistakes. And make bigger accidents.



5 Responses

  1. I learn something new everyday…thanks to you. I think I am pretty good at creating accidents, but that may just be because I am clumsy. 🙂 You continue to amaze me with your wisdom and determination.

    • Oh Meg, you are generous with you compliments. You should know me well enough to know I’m not all that wise. 🙂

  2. Great post! I’m hoping to name my first son after that fine gentleman.

    Just read this great Thoreau quote in the book Power Questions the other day: “The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”

    • Nate, that quote is a gem. I had those same thoughts this morning, and I realized that often we ask for advice but we don’t want to follow it. Rather, we just want validation. Hmmm…

      And which name will you be choosing? Henry? David? Thoreau?

  3. […] written a post about making bigger accidents, which you should go read.  It’s very […]

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