A young man was amazed at how wise an older woman he knew seemed to be. She always seemed to know the right things to do.
So, he asked, “How did you get so wise.”
The woman laughed and replied, “By making good decisions.”
The young man did that quick nod we all offer when we knew the answer all along and he asked, “But, how do you know how to make good decisions?”
The woman gazed into the distance and slightly smiled as if remembering a difficult lesson learned and simply said, “Experience.”
The young man, frustrated, asked, “How did you get experience?”
She looked at him kindly, put her hand on his shoulder, leaned to his ear and whispered, “By making bad decisions.”
We all make decisions that, when viewed in retrospect, we think, “Nope, shouldn’t’ve done THAT!”
But, we also have decisions about which we think, “Well, HELL YEAH!! I’d do that again in a skinny minute!!!”
Believe me, you aren’t the only one. My motto has long been, “If you don’t go, you don’t know,” so I have a long list that includes both those types of responses.
Most of the folks we live with and around don’t have the courage to go. They are afraid of what will happen, who will talk about them, what they’ll think about themselves in the morning.
Now, let’s be honest here. Some of you are doing that grown-up thing right now where you’re thinking, “Well, Mike, if I’m thinking of drinking shots of Drano should I go ahead and do it to see if I like it?”
Remember when you were young and you wanted to do something and your reasoning was that Mike was doing it so you should be able to do it too? And the grown-ups in your life asked, “If Mike was going to jump off a bridge would you?” (and yes, I’ve jumped off a bridge and out of a plane) Those folks with the Drano question are the successors of the bridge people. So, let’s do a shampoo-on-the-shower-floor slide away from them for a minute.
Whatever the experience was that you thought, “Nope, shouldn’t have done THAT!” I’m willing to bet you now know to either not do it again or modify it so the damage isn’t as great as it was the first time.
But, what if you looked at situations like that as simply experiments.; and yes, some experiments last too long and have a high cost in emotion and money. They were still experiments, though.
They were experiments in figuring out what type of life you are having and want to have. Great scientists, coaches, business and government leaders are careful when labeling attempts/experiments as failures. Everyone knows the Thomas Edison comment that he didn’t have failures he had simply found 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb.
Some of you may not want to hear this, but the Affordable Care Act is not a failure. It’s an experiment in figuring out how to provide insurance for millions of people in a country that has an aging population.
You have to examine the experiment and ask, “What would I not do again? What would I do again? What did I learn? What can I offer others so they don’t make the same mistake?”
When I wrote Heartbreak Top 10 and The Best Small Business to Start Right Now! (both available on amazon.com), they were written so others could benefit from mistakes and successes I have had.
So remember, the woman at the beginning was right on the money. When you make decisions that don’t turn out as you hoped they are simply part of your experience, which, if you learn from them, can help you make better decisions.
Here are the basic questions for today: What decision have you made in the last 6 months that has led to experiences you would label Great or Bad? What was great about the decision or what was bad? What did you learn? Would you do it again? If so, how might you do it differently?
If you know someone who might benefit from this blog, please pass it on.