Mistakes Give Us Valuable Lessons

Do you have a Ph.D. from the school of lessons learned the hard way? You know, from UHK, “The University of Hard Knocks.” If we look at those bumps and bruises along the learning curve, we’ll find that many were self imposed. Maybe we didn’t listen to others who had already traveled the same path.
Often we are reluctant to talk about our blunders or oversights. We believe that others would view them as weaknesses. However, once we’ve paid the price to learn the lesson and we don’t repeat the behavior in the future, our previous digressions become strengths. We’ve learned something. List the top ten lessons you’ve learned the hard way. Then read them quickly to remind you of past victories. This can give confidence and motivation to release your present challenges.
Here are the top ten lessons I’ve learned the hard way.
1. I create my own opportunity by expanding my frame of reference and network of contacts and resources. I believe Abraham Lincoln was correct when he said, “Good things come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
2. Constructive criticism is finding a problem and suggesting three workable solutions. Criticism without corrective suggestions is complaining.
3. If I don’t love myself, I won’t recognize others’ love.
4. Wondering why others don’t act and think as I do is self-flagellation. We’re all different and entitled to think and act as we choose. If I don’t like how someone acts, I don’t have to associate with them.
5. Humor can ease many tensions and solve many problems. However, it can’t solve them all. Think before making light of a situation. Don’t make fun at another’s expense.
6. The happier I am with simple things, the simpler it is to be happy. Sunsets and Sunrises are free to enjoy.
7. The more often I immerse myself in the sounds of silence, the stronger and deeper is my personal serenity. The goal is to be “calmly active and actively calm.” (P. Yogananda)
8. Often when I feel like doing something the least, it is the time I need it the most. Lethargy gives way to renewed energy when I exercise. Move through challenges, not around them.
9. I realize my purpose is to serve others. By being a willing subordinate to the plans of others, I can realize the fulfillment of my plans. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “We are all selling something to someone.” No matter what our occupation is, we prosper by serving the needs of others.
10. Fear can neutralize any plan and compromise any value system. Fear exists internally and varies widely among people. I first plan for the worst and then I proceed with confidence.
You might find we have some of these lessons in common. With others you might wonder how a simple problem could cause trouble. We all have different challenges and approaches. Be honest as you write your lessons. Laugh at the memories of some of your biggest blunders. And, most of all learn from them. “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” (Santayana)

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