I was listening to Dr. John Maxwell talk about “Do Overs” during this morning’s Minute With Maxwell motivational video message, a weekday morning ritual I have become accustomed to participating in for about six years now. The key takeaway is this: if you didn’t make the mistake, then you couldn’t learn from it and be who you are today.
The problems you experienced and the bad decisions you’ve made in the past guide you to become a better person. If you learn from your regrets, those difficult life lessons often called “the school of hard knocks,” then you should be able to avoid repeating those same bad choices because you know from your personal experiences how they will end.
When you come to a fork in the road where you have two choices, pause for a moment to reflect on where each road will take you, then make a choice.
Be mindful of the choice you’re making and take notes of the consequences that follow, good or bad, so as to learn from them.
As I think about my own life journey and the recent choices I’ve made, I think about my decision to move to The Woodlands (north of Houston), Texas last July. As a person of faith, I believe God answered my prayer in enabling me to move to Texas in 2020, even though it wasn’t the right place for me to be.
By that October, I was right back in Jacksonville, Florida where I belonged. I realized that we have to be careful what we ask for when I heard a biblical story about an ancient King who received a prophecy that he would die within a year.
He prayed fervently for life – and God answered his prayer (to the detriment of his people.) During his extended 15 years of life, he had opened the city doors to an enemy that eventually robbed the city of its gold and enslaved their people. It would have been better for Israel if their King had died as was originally planned.
Moving to Texas last year cost me about $10,000 and a lot of loneliness. I contracted shingles in my first month there and I was all alone with no friends or family to care for me. I spent my birthday alone with no cake, no company, and no birthday gifts. And even though I tried, I didn’t make any new friends. It was a beautiful location, but not the right fit for me.
This biblical story, and my own recent life experience, taught me to “be careful what you ask for.”
Self-discipline is not about refraining from making bad choices, in and of itself, but about being a good student of yourself (disciple means student). In the end, you’ll look back at your entire life and realize that your own self-discipline was the roadmap to a better life.
Let your bad decisions propel you to make good decisions going forward. We are all on a journey and we can strive to live 1% better with every choice we make.
Wishing you lots of success on your journey!