A friend of mine is making a movie and needs some origami cranes. Lots of them. So, I promised to make some on my breaks at work. I've never done any origami before, but how hard could it be, right?
Since there was no stipulation about size or type of paper for my friend's project, I cut up some old catalogs into almost-perfect squares, then...to the interwebs!
I tried out several tutorials, trying to understand what corner they meant for me to fold up, and turning the thing the wrong way, and tearing what would become a torn crane beak, until I discovered the wikiHow video tutorial. It featured 10-second videos of each step, which were much more clear. I was following along and doing sort of okay, folding and unfolding until I had worked it into some kind of...shape...at step 14. Then:
Seriously? Undo that which cost me a fifteen-minute struggle?
It turns out, all nine of those first folds (that's by my count, which I admit could be faulty) are necessary even though they will be undone. In fact, they need to be undone to fulfill their purpose. They would come into play later, in a way that this rookie origamist could have no way of predicting.
Of course, life does not give us a wikiHow tutorial. But we do sometimes see the creases we make in the square paper of life, whether tentative, shrewd, or imprudent, being undone, sometimes by our own hand. If we assume those steps are not wasted, but rather are something that we might need later, it might help us to maintain the energy and enthusiasm we need to keep taking steps. If we shake our fists at life, or at ourselves, maybe we just get nothing but jaded and bogged down.
Bottom line: the process of folding, unfolding, accidentally tearing, and a negligible amount of cursing, was well worth my time and energy. I got a useful metaphor out of it, as well as three imperfect cranes for my friend's movie! (I'm not done, JC - more cranes are on their way to you, on their catawampus wings.)
PS According to Wikipedia, car airbags, stent implants, and solar panel arrays for satellites are all technological advances that have come from insights gained through paper folding. よんやよんや (Hurray!)