As human beings, we often face a plethora of life lessons that we learn either through personal experience or by observing others and taking note.
Especially hard life lessons are probably best learned by observing others and avoiding their mistakes, but I posit that the lessons we learn best are the lessons learned through enduring our own difficult challenges.
A lesson earned is truly a lesson learned.
We first learned that fire is hot and water is wet as small children because we touched the hot stove and burned ourselves or fell into the lake with our clothes on in cold weather, no one had to remind us of these revelations again. The lessons having been earned through our sincere ignorance or conscientious stupidity (e.g. not listening to our elders’ caveats).
Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending upon your point of view), all of us have to learn some lessons the hard way. Through personal experience.
This is not necessarily a bad thing.
Some of our mistakes are not readily apparent until well after the fact, while other mistakes might even be our last mistake. The adage that whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger is truer than many people realize.
Many people believe that everything happens for a reason and that our past experiences shape who we are in the present.
While it would be madness to dispute these widely accepted notions out of hand, I will attempt to define them a little less broadly.
Firstly, we are not shaped by our past experiences so much as we are by our resolve in dealing with the experiences life brings us. It is not adversity itself that shapes who we are, but rather how we dealt with that adversity.
Secondly. as I have said at least a couple of times in this blog, I am not a big believer in coincidence, ergo, I am not of the notion that things happen for a reason because things don’t “just happen”, things get done. By people, to people, and for people.
Sure, fate is certainly a factor, a rather large factor at that. But we control our fate to a far greater degree than we realize. This is the reason why the things that aren’t within our control are considered “freak events” or “rare occurrences”.
Some of the things we do as human beings are calculated risks. Even seemingly mundane, everyday tasks are the result of you deciding to take a calculated risk even if you don’t recognize that you are taking a risk.
For example, the most dangerous thing we do almost every day is get behind the wheel of a car and drive. It’s not like climbing Mount Everest or jumping out an airplane, but the probability of you dying in a car wreck is exponentially greater than dying on the world’s tallest mountain, considering most of us are unlikely to ever attempt to climb Everest, that is.
My point is that the crucible of life is replete with everyday people taking calculated risks. The most successful people tried things and failed at most of them far more than the unsuccessful people who never bothered to take the same risks, either out of fear of failure or a lack of confidence or motivation.
As Michael Jordan once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.
I’ll add to that salient point that the best lessons you learn in life come not from your successes, but from your failures.
Failures are nothing more than lessons that you earned, so always try the learn from them and keep moving forward.
-The Rational Ram