Have you ever wondered if you could recover from a significant mistake you’ve made? You know, the time you had that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realized you goofed and then wondered if things would ever be the same.
As you journey through life, you are going to make mistakes. It may be in the career you’ve chosen or perhaps the person you married. Maybe it’s the time you lost your temper and ruined a relationship, or decided on a moments notice to relocate somewhere quite different from the norm. It may be something like quitting a job, or turning down a job offer. There are a ton of ways to make mistakes and I’ve done quite a few of them. So the question really isn’t whether you are going to make mistakes, but how you react to them.
How do I handle mistakes? After making a mistake I usually go to a party and if I invite my wife or another friend, they usually decline my invitation or leave early. You may have been to this party yourself, it’s quite easy to send yourself an invitation. The parties all have the same theme, you know… the pity party.
I had a dream once. Well, more than once, but this one was BIG. During college I dreamed of being a doctor. I majored in Chemistry because that was a good degree to have when applying, even though I hated Chemistry. I worked in a hospital emergency room at least 20 hours per week to get the experience, even though it took time away from studying. I was in the Medical Explorers and worked in a chemistry lab as an assitant to a graduate student. I studied really hard and never missed a class! I paid money to take the Kaplan course to bring up my MCAT scores. I did everything I could think of. I applied three years in a row, and for whatever reason (I like to think that I was qualified) I never quite got in. A lot of my friends got into medical school, and everyone assumed I would too. But I didn’t. I then decided to enter the Navy as a flight officer and went off to Pensacola Florida for training.
Usually after making a mistake my mind starts playing games with me. If only…..! – How will I ever be…? – Why was I so s-t-u-p-i-d! You know the routine and this was no different. I wondered at the time, how would my life turn out? How could I ever have a great life if I couldn’t be a doctor?
Well, life turned out pretty good for me. I had an awesome time as a NFO in the Navy. I met some awesome people, got married to a wonderful wife, have two awesome kids and a fantastic grandson. I’ve travelled to the Far East and have experienced things others only dream about. I own a house, have bought a brand new car (well – it wasn’t a maserrati, but it was new!) more than once. I have a good life.
At the time though, I wondered if I had somehow gotten off the path that life was supposed to take me on. If you’ve ever felt that way, I have news for you…. you are still on the path that life meant for you to have, even if you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere.
I have a theory that every moment, every second, is a new beginning. That regardless of how you got to where you are, that the path forward can lead to happiness and fulfillment. Every second – is a new beginning… if you choose it too be.
After a loss of some sort, you now have a choice to make. Do you try to go back down the path you came from? Or, do you move forward down the path to happiness. I have news for you, you cannot go back, so don’t try. The path will be worn because it has already been travelled. Along this path you will find your discarded dreams, and bill boards highlighting your failures. You will also find ghosts of people you once knew, who are really no longer there because they’ve gone down paths of their own. You may even find happiness, but this happiness you can only observe but can no longer experience.
What of the path forward? Many have discussed this path that is now open before you. I don’t want to talk about the path – I want to talk about the moment. Every second… every moment is a new beginning. When faced with a challenge, if you went back down the path of your past, or if you chose the road of despair… every second is a new beginning. You can choose the path to happiness… right now! Even if you’ve chosen the wrong path a hundred or a thousand times before, this next second… this next moment… you can chose the path to happiness. Don’t despair. As long as you have breath in your body, you can choose the path to happiness.
Living a Life of Excellence is about treating each moment as a choice to happiness and fulfillment. You have that choice – use it!
All the best,
All the time!