A single mistake in the rejection of an opportunity or in the choice of direction at a crossroad may lead to a quarter-lifetime's suffering. The student may quite easily discover by analysis the smaller lessons embodied in that suffering and yet may quite overlook the larger lessons, for he may fail to ascribe major blame to the early rejection or choice. He may still not realize how it all stems out of that primary root, how each error in conduct that naturally happens after it becomes a channel for a further one, and that in its turn for still another, so that the descent is eventually inevitable and its attendant sorrows become cumulative. Thus all traces back to the initial foundational error, which is the most important one because it is the choice of wrong direction, because such a wrong choice means that the more he travels through life, the more mistaken all his later conduct becomes.
-- Notebooks Category 13: Human Experience > Chapter 2: Living in The World > # 198
-- Perspectives > Chapter 13: Human Experience > # 20